Kristofferson joined by Rita Coolidge after his 30 October show in San Diego follows a tragic loss around a year ago.
Photographs of Kris and his ex-wife circulated the media after his concert in San Diego earlier this month. The ex-spouses look happy and relaxed, and photographs were well received by fans of both of these stars. Connie Nelson, Willie’s ex-wife was part of the group. I have not been able to get permission to use these photographs, but they do appear on Rita’s official Facebook page and can be viewed there (Pic used here is CC, cit below)
The snaps were reportedly taken backstage, and show the ex-couple looking comfortable and still very fond of each other. Life on the road is notoriously harsh on marriages, and it must be very difficult for raising children. The marriage was dissolved a long time ago now, and many fans will be pleased to see that although even icons cannot escape the pressures of living, working and raising a family, the human spirit is resilient and universal. Peace and reconciliation often bring their own (if different over time and circumstance) rewards and delights. We are all human, after all.
The photographs are more poignant when we remember that Rita Coolidge lost her sister to a thankfully less common life event around a year ago. Rita speaks about this here
A family portrait of Rita and Priscilla in happier times
Priscilla Coolidge died in a murder-suicide. Priscilla’s death was ruled a homicide, her husband’s death a suicide. There is no argument that Priscilla’s husband, Michael Seibert, murdered his wife, then took his own life. Back then, Rita said in a statement to the Star: “Words cannot express the devastation our family is feeling with the loss of my sister, Priscilla.” and added, “We are asking for privacy during this time of mourning.” We respect that, so enough said, except that despite the tragedy, many fans are grateful that Rita is continuing to work and entertain us.
The Coolidge sisters worked on various projects together, and formed a trio group called Walela, along with Priscilla’s daughter. (Walela is the Cherokee the word for Hummingbird) The group celebrated the family’s Cherokee heritage, and performed during the opening of the 2002 Olympics. Walela was listed on the NAMA website under the Winners section as follows:
Walela (Cherokee)- 01 Group of the Year, 1998 Song of the Year, 98 Debut Group, 04 Short Long video
This same site shows Rita, later photographed with Lil SteveLn and John Trudell.
Kris Kristofferson’s, Johnny Lobo, which features on the 1995 Moment in Forever album, is about John Trudell, and was used at the end of the documentary film, Trudell, released in 2005. Kris mentions Trudell’s story in many of his concerts, and during a concert in Birmingham, England, Kris asked me if I had explored the work of John Trudell. I told him I had heard of him but was not fully up to date with his story, he encouraged me to research the man and read his work.
Kris sang What About Me from his 1986 album, Repossessed at a Trudell/Timms gig in Hamburg in 1993, but there are countless illustrations of Kristofferson’s support and respect for Trudell. The Coolidge sisters are connected to Trudell through work and heritage, and are likely good friends.
We often forget that entertainers and artists are people too, and are more than the sum of their work and popularity. I hope that days of peace, harmony, good health and happiness outnumber the times of adversity for all of us, for a long time to come. So for the Good Times – Salute!
Booker T and Priscilla
NB: There is a beautiful photograph of the Coolidge sisters and their parents with Kris (before he married Rita),and Priscilla’s then-husband and his family here
Rita Coolidge speaks about her life in her own Bio
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Photo CC Licence , credit to Alan Light