Some critics suggest that if the only song he’d ever written was “Crazy,” he’d still go down in songwriters history.
Luckily for our ears, Willie kept pickin’ out tunes and sharing them with the world. His five-decade career has produced many hits and honors.
This year, on April 30, the red-headed stranger will turn 75. His hair may be more grey than red but it still hangs in two braids and his songs stand the test of time.
One of the original outlaws of country music, Willie does things one way: his way. This attitude gets him in trouble with the law every so often and it may be part of the reason he’s been married four times.
Anyhow, his pot-smoking, rule-breaking, law-avoiding, environmental-thinking, political-speaking ways make him the kind of person we all wish was our grandfather but would have denied any relation to in junior high.
His personal journey of ups and downs is detailed in the new book, Willie Nelson: An Epic Life. Nothing super groundbreaking if you’ve been listening for any length of time but still not a bad read.
Austin’s favorite troublemaker and Texas’ favored son will also be honored in a star-studded radio broadcast on KGSR 107.1 in Austin (listen online.) Anyone who’s anyone (including Joe Ely, Kelly Willis, Ian McLagan, Ray Benson, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Patty Griffin and Willie’s daughter, Paula) in Austin will be dropping by to celebrate the birthday boy with a song or two.
In the meantime, go plant yourself next to the record player and listen to Red Headed Stranger, Wanted! The Outlaws, and one other album of your choosing. Meander over to the television set and watch Wag The Dog, Honeysuckle Rose and Songwriter. Then go find a way to spread some peace or put some vegetable oil in your truck. Finally, see if you can’t dig up a carton of Ben & Jerry’s “Willie Nelson’s Country Peach Cobbler Ice Cream” and repeat.
As a side note, if you happen to live by a Ben & Jerry’s, they’re giving out free ice cream on April 29, which is today.
Photo from Lost Highway Records