Monday, October 4, 2010

Country Music Month - The Texas Connection: Shotgun Willie

Here's a question for you: Can you remember a time when Willie Nelson was not a part of Country Music? I can't either. The man became a part of the Country Music scene in 1956! I was born in 1956!

The Favorite Son of Abbott, Texas was born April 30, 1933, where at age six, Willie's Dad bought some mail-order music lessons that young Willie delved into head first. Willie wrote his first song at seven years old and was in a band by the time he was nine. His father was a pool hall owner, so honky tonks were like a second home to Willie. As a young man, Willie sang in the local watering holes, while being a DJ at various radio stations. He moved to Vancouver, Washington and then to Nashville, but still had little success as a singer. However, Willie was a prolific songwriter having penned such hits as Funny How Time Slips Away for Billy Walker, Night Life for Ray Price, Crazy for Patsy Cline and Hello Walls for Faron Young. Still, a singing career was not in the cards for Willie at this time. In 1973, the critically acclaimed (which means nobody bought it) Shotgun Willie  was released followed by Phases and Stages with the hit single Bloody Mary Morning.. In 1975 after changing record labels where he got full control over his music, and moving to Austin and becoming a part of the Outlaw Music scene, Willie captured lightning in a bottle with the release of  The Red Headed Stranger. Willie Nelson was now a bona fide star. For the last thirty-five years, Willie has written and produced some of the most memorable music of any genre. From his classic duets with Waylon Jennings , Ray Price, Ray Charles and an offer to do a duet with me(!) and a host of others to that magical album of standards, Stardust, Willie has gone places with music that few, if any, others would even consider. There is so much to write about when Willie is the subject, that I'd have to write a book to cover it all. Instead, I'll leave you with  this link to Wikipedia to dive in a little deeper into the man that is Willie Nelson.

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