Bobbie Nelson, Willie Nelson’s sister and longtime band piano player, has died at 91

Willie Nelson posted on Instagram, "Her elegance and grace, beauty, and talent made the world a better place."

Bobbie Nelson, Willie Nelson’s sister and longtime band piano player, has died at 91

Bobbie Nelson was Willie Nelson ’s sister and was a member of his Willie Nelson and Family bands for over 50 years. She died Thursday morning. She was 91.

According to Willie Nelson's Insta, she died peacefully surrounded by her family.


 

The post stated that "Her elegance and grace, beauty, and talent made this the better place" She was Willie's first singer and pianist. We are devastated and will miss her deeply.

The cause of death wasn't provided.

Willie Nelson fans seldom got to see Bobbie Nelson on stage. But her long, thick hair gave assurance that the family was there and that no matter what the band did, there would be no separation of the siblings.

Willie Nelson said to the Austin American-Statesman that "there's no way to describe how fortunate I am to have such a talented musician in my family." Sister Bobbie has always been there for me whenever I needed a pianist. Sister Bobbie is the best performer on stage when our band plays.

As a duo, the brother and sister released albums as well as books. The Nelsons published "Me and Sister Bobbie" (cowritten by David Ritz) a memoir about their relationship a year and a quarter ago. It was promoted in interviews.

Nelson, a "TODAY" host in November 2020, recalled that her little sister was always playing the piano and making great music. "I used to sit beside her on the piano stool and try to figure what she was doing." He said, "Sister Bobbie is a ten times better musician than me." He replied, "I think I'm a better con man than Sister Bobbie."

Bobbie was often called his "little sister" by the country star, even though she was two years older.

Their grandparents taught them "The Great Speckled Bird" when she was six and he was four. They formed a musical bond, but it would take decades for Bobbie to realize that he could bring Bobbie into his professional career.

Willie Nelson shared his memories of how his creative revival in the 1970s coincided to his inviting Bobbie into the band.

Jerry Wexler, a legendary producer, had brought him from an unhappy stint at another label to Atlantic Records. He was about to start recording the series "outlaw"-era classic albums that would define him. Bobbie was the first person that came to mind when Wexler said he could use anyone as a studio musician. She was the spark I had been lacking."

Bobbie was 42 years old and had never been to a recording studio or on a plane before he convinced him in 1973 to get her on board for the first Atlantic album. It was a gospel album called "The Troublemaker" then "Shotgun Willie."

"The Atlantic Records experience set me on a new path. He said that, most importantly, it brought me back to Bobbie." I said it out loud after the New York sessions were over. "Sister, I replied, "You're now a part of the band."

Bobbie Nelson's first solo album, "Audiobiography", was released in 2017. It featured piano instrumentals. Even though she didn't go out on her own, her brother knew her from her performing a showcase number on each night and from the duo projects she did. She also had piano playing that was almost as well-known as her brother, who played his guitar.

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