Donnie Price

For the first time in nearly 60 years, Lampasas native Donnie Price and his family are breaking with tradition and traveling to Abilene for Thanksgiving.

LAMPASAS – For the first time in nearly 60 years, Lampasas native Donnie Price and his family are breaking with tradition and traveling to Abilene for Thanksgiving.

Since the 1960s, the Price family has gathered for Thanksgiving and Christmas at the Lampasas home where 67-year-old Donnie spent half his childhood and now lives with one of his sisters. Another sister lives in Abilene and although little brother was not exactly thrilled with going somewhere else for the holiday, any objection he may have had was over-ruled.

“I have two older sisters, and I am not in charge,” Price said, laughing.

A lifelong musician who dropped out of high school to pursue a career on stage, Price started out playing lead guitar, switched over to the bass, and has enjoyed a run that includes 27 tours of Europe, and sharing stages with the likes of Texas legends Rusty Weir, Augie Meyers, Steven Fromholz, Ryan Bingham, Billy Joe Shaver, and last but certainly not least, the one and only Willie Nelson.

“I’ve known Willie since the late ‘80s — something like that — but I was never in Willie’s band,” Price said. “That kind of gets blown out of proportion. I’ve jammed with him out at his house, and I’ve played at Poodie’s (famed Hill Country roadhouse) with him when we backed up Billy Joe Shaver right after his son died.

“So, me and Willie were in Billy Joe Shaver’s band one time, for one night.”

Last week, Price, also an accomplished chef, was at home getting ready to can some fresh smoked jalapeño peppers, and also planning a surprise dish to take with him to Abilene.

He would not say what that surprise dish is going to be.

“I’ve got something going on, but I don’t want it advertised yet.”

His music career has slowed down a little recently — especially during last year’s COVID-19 pandemic — but Price has been doing quite a bit of acting. He has appeared in a Ford commercial and a movie that is due out next year. He also has a regular gig as an actor playing “sick” patients for medical students to examine and diagnose.

“I’m headed over there here in a little while,” he said. “I think I have a UTI this time. I’m not sure … I’ll have to look at the script again.

“I refer to myself as a recovering musician,” Price said. “A friend of mine asked me if I wanted to play Dec. 26, so that is the only thing I have on my schedule. I am planning some Europe things, if they come through. We’ll just have to wait and see on that.”

During all those years of Thanksgiving in Lampasas, Price can remember only three times when he was not able to attend the annual family get-together. So even though he will be driving 160 miles northwest this year, he is looking forward to keeping the streak alive.

“I was in Europe one time for Thanksgiving; in Wyoming once for Thanksgiving; and I was sicker than a dog once. That’s the only three I can think of that I’ve ever missed,” he said.

“This will be the first time in the history of our family that we haven’t done it at this house since we moved here from the farm in … ’64. We always had Christmas and Thanksgiving here, so this will be the first time.

“Last year was a little different. We split up a little for that. Kept it simple. Everybody kind of had their own (Thanksgiving). So, yeah, I’m looking forward to it. I’m thankful that things are slowly but surely — sort of — coming back to normal. Over a year with no music and no acting, it was pretty rough on me and a lot of other people.”

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