Paul English, Willie Nelson’s Longtime Drummer, Dies

Paul English, the longtime drummer for the legendary Willie Nelson, has died. He was 87 years old. Nelson’s publicist confirmed…


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

February 12, 2020


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Paul English; Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Paul English, the longtime drummer for the legendary Willie Nelson, has died. He was 87 years old. Nelson’s publicist confirmed his passing to Rolling Stone. According to the publication, English began performing with Nelson in 1966.

English was born in 1932 in Vernon, Texas. Prior to joining Nelson’s Family Band in the late 1960s, English was heading down a rough path. The former gang leader and pimp once credited Nelson for getting his life back on track.

“If I hadn’t gone with Willie, I would be in the penitentiary or dead,” English shared with Rolling Stone in 2014. “I was running girls and playing music at the same time.”

Nelson chronicled his friendship and adventures with English in the 1971 road song “Me & Paul.” The track was featured on multiple Willie Nelson albums, including his 32nd studio release in 1984.

English continued to tour with Nelson up until his death, sharing percussion duties with his younger brother, Billy English.

Neither Paul English’s cause of death, nor plans for his funeral have not been revealed.

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Lauren Jo Black

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Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.