(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — On September 26-27, Willie Nelson will officially open his very own concert theater: Willie's Place, located at Carl's Corner truck stop, nestled south of Dallas on highway I-35 and just 15 miles from Nelson's birthplace of Abbot, TX.
Nelson and his longtime friend Carl Cornelius, owner of the truck stop, began building Willie's Place six months ago with a vision of taking the term "roadside attraction" to a whole new level.
"We wanted the truckers and travelers to have a chance to see live music," says Cornelius. "They can't get to the concerts in their big trucks. This is a little place where they can come to see Willie and some of the stars they don't get to see on the road."
A full service, year-round, live music venue, Willie's Place is reminiscent of a Branson, Missouri Opry house, boasting an 80ft stage and an intimate 850 seats.
"It will make your liver quiver," says Cornelius. "There's not a bad seat in the whole house."
Nelson and Cornelius are overseeing management and booking of the venue and shining a special spotlight on Lone Star State musicians. Leon Russell, Pauline Reese and James Hand are already scheduled for upcoming shows this year.
Carl's Corner is the filling station where Nelson hosted the July 3 debut of "BioWillie," his own blend of B-20 Biodiesel fuel that's made from vegetable oils and reduces carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide.
By expanding the filling station into an entertainment center Nelson hopes to showcase his clean-burning, natural and renewable fuel that can be burned in diesel engines without modification. " I want to use Carl's Corner as an example," says Nelson. "It's a perfect place on the highway to play a little music and show people how well Biodiesel works at the same. I want Texas to lead the world in Biodiesel exploration like we once did in oil and gas."
Carl's Corner's is the only Texas filling station on highway I- 35 that houses Biodiesel pumps. Nelson and his partners feel that the shift towards public popularity for the alternative fuel is hindered by a problem of supply. "Right now Biodiesel is readily available at the pump at only six gas stations in Texas making access difficult for the average consumer," says Peter Bell, CEO of Distribution Drive and partner in Nelson's company Willie Nelson's Biodiesel.
Nelson started Willie Nelson's Biodiesel with partners Cornelius and Distribution Drive to improve air quality and to help America's family farmers find new uses for their products. They have been selling their Biodiesel blend since October 2004.
With escalating gas prices and dwindling petroleum resources, Nelson knows there is demand for an alternative energy source. In a little town in Texas he and his partners may be taking the first step towards a solution to the world's energy crisis and a way to diminish dependency upon foreign oil.
"We're searching the world over for fuel sources while the answer has been growing in our backyard the entire time," says Nelson. "This is the light at the end of the tunnel, and it's not a freight train." –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen