‘Whiskey River’ Lubricates Nelson Tour

Willie Nelson traditionally opens his concerts with “Whiskey River.” He had a country hit with the Johnny Bush song in 1979. Now, a Kentucky distillery is producing in small batches a bourbon called “Old Whiskey River.” The company also is sponsoring the Willie Nelson and Family Tour and mounting a marketing campaign with giveaways that include bandanas, T-shirts, hats and Nelson-style braids. Nelson accepted the first bottle of Old Whiskey River during a ceremony Aug. 21 at Heaven Hill Distilleries in Bardstown, Ky. He also met the farmers who raised the grain for the bourbon. Nelson has a three-night stand at New York’s Irving Plaza, Jan. 22-24. His new album, The Great Divide, comes out Feb. 5 on Lost Highway/Island Def Jam Records. 12/05/01