Many years ago, deep into the forest of my youth, I heard this song for the first time. It captured my heart instantly. I had easily recognised Willie Nelson’s voice, and even though I wasn’t a huge Willie fan (though I did like many of his songs) I fell in love with this tune.
I don’t know why I still recall the moment I heard and connected with it. Maybe it was the circumstances around this song or the simple fact that it rang true in so many ways. It still does today. Maybe it was the melody. Either way when I hear it now, I want to get up, walk out the door with a backpack and hit the road to adventure.
But lets back track. The first time I heard this song was while watching one of my most favourite all-time television shows Northern Exposure. Anyone who faithfully watched this show knows exactly what I mean when I say, “this was one of the very few shows I set my schedule by”. I never missed an episode.
The writing was superb, and the characters both unique and memorable. Who could forget Chris in the Morning, Maurice, Shelly, Maggie, Joel, Ruth-Anne, Holling and of course Ed.
The “Three Amigos” episode in which Maurice and Holling had to deliver the body of a dear old friend to the promised burial spot in the mountains ended with this song. I don’t believe they could have found a more suitable match. Thanks to YouTube, you can see the final few minutes of that episode.
Ending of Three Amigos
And thanks again to YouTube, we can listen to the full-length song. It’s off the 1975 Red Headed Stranger Album. You can sing along with the lyrics here.
Hands on the Wheel by Willie Nelson
A peaceful way to end a hectic week. I think I’ll just sit back, close my eyes and dream of the day when I will stand up, strap on my backpack and head out on the trail again.