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Watch: Willie Nelson’s guitar Trigger is the star of short doc

Peter Blackstock
pblackstock@statesman.com

“Willie Nelson and His Famous Guitar: The Tale of Trigger,” a documentary short about the Austin country legend’s equally legendary worn-and-weathered Martin classical six-string, made its debut today online as the inaugural video of Rolling Stone Films.

The 11-minute piece is the first in a six-part Rolling Stone series called “Mastering the Craft.” It ncludes interviews with Nelson, his longtime harmonica player Mickey Raphael, fellow Texas music great Jerry Jeff Walker, Austin luthier Mark Erlewine of Erlewine Guitars, Nelson biographer Joe Nick Patoski and others. Actor Woody Harrelson narrates.

The documentary tells of how Nelson bought Trigger in 1969 in Nashville after his previous guitar was wrecked at a show at Floore’s Country Store near San Antonio. Trigger’s condition over the decades has served as a sort of mirror for the miles Nelson has traveled on the road. “It is the great timeline for Willie Nelson,” Patoski says in the film.

Erlewine, tagged as “The Trigger Doctor” in the film, recalls that “very early on, Willie told me, ‘I want you to just keep it going. As long as it’s going, I’ll keep going.’” Nelson himself suggests near the end that “probably Trigger will outlast me.”