Bobbie Nelson, sister and bandmate of country music legend Willie Nelson, dies at 91

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Bobbie Nelson, the older sister of country music legend Willie Nelson and longtime pianist in his band, has died, her family has announced. She was 91 years old.

An original member of the Willie Nelson and Family Band, Bobbie Nelson played the piano for over 50 years with her brother. She died Thursday “peacefully and surrounded by her family,” the Nelson family said in a statement. The cause and place of his death have not been disclosed.

“Her elegance, her grace, her beauty and her talent made this world a better place,” the Nelson family said. “She was the first member of Willie’s band, as a pianist and singer. Our hearts are broken and she will be deeply missed.

Raised in Abbott, Texas, Bobbie Nelson played honky-tonks alongside her brother, but gave up music to attend business school after the death of her husband, Bud Fletcher. Her first job out of college was at the Hammond Organ Company where she worked in the music library and demonstrated the company’s organs, the Nelson family said.

“It was a good experience for me, too, because I had so much music at my fingertips,” Bobbie Nelson told The Associated Press in a 2007 interview. sweets.”

In 1972, she joined her brother’s band and played with him for decades.

Bobbie Nelson and Willie Nelson perform on The Tonight Show on October 3, 2007 — Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank

“Our whole life has been one song after another,” she said, “learning to play music and her beautiful ability to write songs. I love playing her music. It’s actually my favorite thing in the world to play with Willie.

Amanda Shires, Texas-born singer-songwriter and violinist wrote on Twitter that Nelson was an inspiration to her at a young age. “Bobbie Nelson was one of the first female musicians I ever saw on stage. She was the first example I had of a woman playing music while having a family,” he said. she wrote, “I am honored to have known her. My deepest condolences to the Nelson family.”

“No one played the piano like Bobbie Nelson and no one ever will. She was the epitome of class, grace and style and I’m sure I’ll miss seeing her on stage next to @ Willie Nelson. wrote singer-songwriter Margo Price on Twitter.

Her debut album, “Autobiography” was released in 2007. She collaborated with her brother on two books: “Me and Sister Bobbie: True Tales of The Family Band” and a children’s book titled “Sister, Brother, Family: An American Childhood in Music.”

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