Nick Offerman (AKA Ron Swanson) Says He Listened To Willie Nelson During Scenes When He Had To Wear Headphones

Willie Nelson country music
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I can’t think of a better way to do it.

As of this week, Texas Monthly and senior editor John Spong are back with the history-rich podcast One By Willie, which is kicking of the fifth season with Nick Offerman.

You may know him best as Ron Swanson from the popular TV series Parks and Recreation, but he’s also a massive Willie Nelson fan.

So much so, that when there were scenes on Parks and Recreation where his character was wearing headphones, he always chose a Willie Nelson song:

“In my show Parks and Recreation, which I’m probably best known for, my character, Ron Swanson—there was a few times across the series where they would have me listening to something on headphones, and they would ask me what it would be.

And the show creator, Mike Schur, and I agreed that it would be Willie Nelson. And for this specific episode late in the series… it’s a very unique episode. It’s like a one-act play between me and the lead of the show, Amy Poehler.”

Like I said, that’s the only way to do it…

In an episode later in the series, Amy Poehler’s character Leslie Knope and Offerman’s character Swanson get into a bitter feud, and eventually talk it out.

The soundtrack to that episode is of course a Willie Nelson song called “Buddy,” which Offerman says still brings up a lot of emotions for him:

“As we’re kind of making up and making friends again, ‘Buddy’ —Willie Nelson’s ‘Buddy’ is the soundtrack, is the song that plays over that. And I mean, listening to it again, in preparation for this podcast, just really wells up a lot of emotions for me, because it’s so simple.

Willie’s emotional songs, for me, are the most effective when they’re just quiet and simple. Another song that we use in the show is ‘Hello Walls.’

And he has such a gentle, sort of even banal, way of communicating the incredible emotional depth of loneliness, or of heartbreak. And so that song, laid over this incredible episode of our show, was just really evocative.”

I think he nailed it… the simplicity, yet simultaneous depth, of Willie Nelson’s music is what makes it so beautiful and timeless.

“Buddy” was a solo write by Willie and included on his 1968 Good Times album, and 55 years later, remains as good and relevant as ever.

Who knew Ron Swanson had such great music taste…


A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock