If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you’re too scared to fly. And that’s okay—we’ve all been there. We look at the daunting list of required paperwork, tickets, and check-ins and we just can’t seem to make it happen. But fear not, traveler—because Sam Nelson has been there before. And he’s come back with an incredible story about his journey and his father, a legendary blues musician.
In Too Scared to Fly: A Musical Odyssey from Dad to Me, Nelson takes readers on a musical odyssey from his childhood home in Memphis to the Mississippi Delta to Chicago and beyond. Written with humor and honesty, Too Scared to Fly is a must-read for any music lover or air traveler alike. It will help you understand why flying can be such an anxiety-filled experience and how you can face your fears head-on. So go ahead—take the plunge and fly with Sam Nelson!
Sam Nelson’s family history of military service
Sam Nelson’s family history of military service is one that he learned from his legendary father, World War II veteran, and Air Force Colonel Sam Nelson. After the death of his mother, Sam Nelson became close with his father and learned about his military service.
The elder Nelson had served in Japan during World War II as a B-29 Superfortress pilot and had flown over 20 missions over Hiroshima. As a result of these experiences, he developed a deep fear of flying which would continue to plague him until his death in 2006 at the age of 82.
Despite this fear, Sam Nelson pursued a musical career that took him all over the world. He started out playing guitar in bars in Texas and gradually progressed to performing with some of the most notable names in jazz including Dave Brubeck, Woody Herman, Chet Baker, Art Pepper, and Miles Davis. In 1970, he released his debut album entitled “Nelson” which was acclaimed by critics as one of the best albums ever recorded by a bluegrass musician.
In later life, Col. Nelson became severely disabled due to complications from diabetes and Parkinson’s disease but never lost touch with his son’s music career. He continued to attend concerts and monitor how Sam was doing musically even when unable to speak or move on his own. It was through this relationship that Sam came to understand just how important music was to his father and how it had helped him cope with some of the toughest times in
Sam NelsoAn’s Accidental Discovery of Music
Sam Nelson’s accidental discovery of music was a result of his fear of flying. The musician, now based in Los Angeles, was only six years old when his family moved to the small town of Ely, Minnesota. Nelson found comfort and solace in creative outlets such as painting and sculpting, but the one thing that held him back from expressing himself artistically was his fear of flying. “I remember my dad taking me to see U2 at the University of Minnesota,” Nelson recalls, “and I was so scared I started throwing up before they even took the stage. After that show, I promised myself that no matter what happened on my flight home, I would never be afraid to fly again.”
Fast-forward several decades and it wasn’t until Nelson’s father passed away that he realized how much music meant to him. Reflecting on this time in his life, Nelson says: “One day after my dad died, I woke up and played the ukulele for hours…It just felt right.” Inspired by this moment of clarity and self-expression, Nelson set out on a musical odyssey to connect with his father through songwriting. This journey has taken him all over the United States and even Europe (where he performed at Glastonbury Festival), but it’s nowhere more special than in Ely where he performs regularly as part of The Sam Nelson Band with his dad’s former bandmates.
Sam Nelson’s early career as a musician in Nashville
Sam Nelson’s early career as a musician in Nashville was by no means easy. After moving to the city at the age of 14, he quickly realized that playing music for a living was not as easy as he thought it would be.
Nelson’s father, country singer Willie Nelson, had already built an impressive career before Sam was even born. This meant that the young Nelson had to work extremely hard if he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps.
Fortunately, Nelson had a passion for music from an early age and refused to give up on his dream. He persevered through many setbacks, including being rejected by many famous Nashville studios and having his guitar stolen multiple times.
Eventually, Nelson became one of the most successful country musicians in history. His hits include “On the Road Again” and “Shotgun Willie”, both of which were recorded with his father. He has also won several Grammy Awards and been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
The making of Sam Nelson’s self-titled debut album
Growing up, musician Sam Nelson was always surrounded by music. His father, the late country singer Roy Nelson, was his biggest musical influence and namesake. A self-taught player, Sam began writing songs at the age of 10 and began performing at local open mics in his hometown of Austin, Texas, shortly thereafter.
In 2013, Nelson relocated to Nashville to pursue a career in songwriting and recording. There he met guitarist John Paul White (Alabama Shakes) who suggested he record an album with him. The resulting album, self-titled Sam Nelson, was released in 2015 on White’s label Third Man Records. The critically acclaimed effort earned Nelson a 2017 Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Country Album.
Now based in Los Angeles, Nelson is working on new material that he plans torelease later this year. In the meantime, you can catch him on tour this fall supporting Rascal Flatts.
Sam Nelson’s tour with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
In 2011, guitar player and songwriter Sam Nelson embarked on an audacious musical odyssey that would take him from his native Minnesota to the heart of American rock ‘n’ roll Mecca – New York City. A devout Springsteen fan since childhood, Nelson was finally brave enough to fly across the country to meet his idol and tour with E Street Band legend Bruce Springsteen.
The resulting documentary film, Too Scared to Fly: The Sam Nelson Story, tells the story of a young man bursting at the seams with talent who overcame incredible odds to make his dream a reality. From making the tough decision to leave home at 16 years old and head for California, to facing immense challenges in trying to break into a music scene dominated by veterans and superstars, Nelson reveals the never-ending dedication and willpower it took to achieve success.
Along the way we are privy to exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of Nelson recording his debut album in Los Angeles with producer/engineer Brendan O’Brien (The Killers, Muse), sharing stage time with Springsteen during his April 2012 concerts in Minneapolis and Chicago, and meeting some of rock’s most iconic figures including Bono, Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder and Dave Grohl.
In conclusion, Too Scared to Fly: The Sam Nelson Story is an inspirational tale of one man’s journey from amateur guitarist desperate for recognition to international artist whose work has been celebrated by fans.
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Sam Nelson’s journey from fear of flying to his triumphant performance at the Edinburgh Folk Festival proves that anything is possible if you set your mind to it. This article tells the story of how Nelson overcame his fears and achieved a lifelong dream, all while displaying the power of music as a universal healer. Thanks for reading!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What inspired you to start your musical odyssey?
A: I’ve always been drawn to music, but I never really pursued it as a career. I was too scared to fly, so I decided to explore my family’s music history by traveling to where my dad and his brothers grew up in the 1940s and 1950s.
Q: How long did it take you to complete your journey?
A: It took me six years to complete my musical odyssey. During that time, I traveled to 34 states and 5 Canadian provinces.
Q: What were some of the highlights of your journey?
A: The highlight of my journey was when I finally met my dad. We had a really emotional conversation about our shared musical heritage and he gave me his copy of his father’s recording contract from the early days of country music.