Recovering Willard Cox Mulls Returning to the Road

Although still confined to a wheelchair, Willard Cox is giving some serious thought to touring with his musical clan again. The 64-year-old patriarch of The Cox Family was severely injured last July in a truck accident. On June 13, however, he played the fiddle and sang with his family at the Carnegie Hall concert that featured most of the artists on the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack.

The Cox Family quit performing following the elder Cox's accident, but they will probably join the O Brother tour that's projected to start in January 2002 and play 18 to 24 cities. Sidney Cox, Willard's son, says a lot will depend on whether the tour plays venues that can accommodate a handicapped performer.

"There are some ongoing questions as far as his health is concerned," Sidney explains. "There are a lot of things up in the air about whether he will be able to walk or not. What he's trying to do now is get accustomed to the fact that he may not walk and get used to the tools that are available for him to get around. It's a slow process, and maybe a younger guy could adapt to it faster."

The Carnegie Hall trip put Cox's strength and resolve to the test, Sidney says. "We've never had to go to a place and wonder if they've got a ramp, or if we can roll up this way or that. We ended up having a great time, and that show was wonderful. Carnegie was everything people ever said about it. He was himself, as far as I'm concerned and everybody else. He just sat down in a chair that had wheels on it. He was in good humor, and he was as feisty as ever. He was himself for a few hours. It was like this whole thing hadn't happened."

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