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TribBlog: Kinky, Willie, and the Price of Friendship

Country music legend Willie Nelson's voice in your radio ad: $5,000. Willie Nelson's friendship: Priceless.

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Being an American icon and all, Willie Nelson's vocal stylings are not exactly for hire.  But right now you can hear him on Texas radios hyping fellow musician Kinky Friedman's bid for agriculture comissioner.

Determining the ad's worth can be a tricky thing.  Numerically, the total votes swayed solely by Willie Nelson's disembodied voice may never be known. Still, the Friedman camp had to come up with some monetary value to put on its most recent campaign finance report. And it turns out, a 30-second Nelson original will set you back a whopping $5,000.

A voice-over industry insider says that $5,000 may seem high, but it's reasonable given Nelson's super-celebrity status — maybe even a bargain, considering the the ad could potentially to run statewide until November should Friedman win the March 2 primary.

That doesn't mean any campaign with five grand to spare can fork it over and expect the political equivalent of "Crazy" in return. As Nelson says in the ad, Friedman is a "good friend."  (Friedman puts it this way: "If Rick Perry wanted a radio spot from Willie, could he get one for 50 million bucks? Absolutely not.") As such, Friedman didn't have to pay a dime — the voice-over work was an in-kind donation.  That makes Nelson the biggest individual donor to Friedman's campaign in the past month. 

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