ENMU pursues country star Willie Nelson

By Tony Parra: Freedom Newspapers

PORTALES — Country legend Willie Nelson may just be going “On The Road Again” and make his way down to Portales for a concert at Eastern New Mexico University.

ENMU officials confirmed that university representatives are in negotiations with the country singer to perform in Portales.

“Officially we haven’t released anything,” Jeff Blake, program coordinator of Eastern’s Associated Students Activities Board, said. “I can confirm we are in negotiations, but it (concerns) something that still may not happen.”

ENMU president Steven Gamble told ENMU Board of Regents members on Friday that mid-May could be a possibility for Nelson’s concert. Gamble said representatives for the country singer were leaning toward having the concert in the ENMU Campus Union Ballroom instead of the Greyhound Arena.

ASAB organizers have been able to bring country singers such as Pat Green, Jessica Andrews and Aaron Watson to ENMU to conduct concerts within the last 18 months. However, none of them have won as many awards or received as many accolades as Nelson.

Nelson has won six Country Grammy Awards, according to the Grammy Web site. Nelson has won awards for “On the Road Again,” “Georgia on My Mind,” “Always on My Mind” and “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys.”

If negotiations are successful, Blake thinks the college will have a huge event on its hands.

“We think he would be a great fit for this area,” Blake said. “We’re really looking for the opportunity to bring him here. It’s almost unheard of to have someone like him play here. It’s looking really good, so far.”

Blake said he hopes to have more information by the end of the week.