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Willie Nelson – All about the musician…

"Redhead Stranger" vs. Nashville...

Willie Nelson Grammy Vagabond...

Music critics note that all modern American singer-songwriters in their work, at least a little, but imitate Willie Nelson. Someone borrows the "chips" of playing the guitar, while someone else, like Willy, breaks out of rhythm.

Real fame came to Nelson quite late, when the musician was already over 40. And, which is extremely rare, Willie earned the recognition of the listeners by opposing himself to the mainstream.

Getting started…

Willie began writing his own songs in 1957. His first listeners were the regulars of a cheap, smoky bar. In the late 50s, Nelson went to conquer the "Vatican" country - Nashville. It is here that it is decided who is destined to become a star, and who does not fit into the established forms of direction.

Nelson clearly did not fit into the fashion trends of the time. Popular country artists have turned this folk style of music into a realm of glamour, performing in fake cowboy hats and sequined jackets. Their songs are accompanied by orchestras, and concerts are held in elite halls.

Willie Nelson. 2008
Willie Nelson. 2008

Willy, on the other hand, prefers to stick to the roots of country, which arose as a slightly naive, but sincere expression of ordinary human feelings through music by homegrown talents. Nelson sings the way he likes, not understanding that the basis of success in Nashville is not the essence of the composition, but the pathos of the performance.

He is accepted only as an author whose songs can be polished and turned into a commercially successful "candy". With the songs of Willy, others rise to the musical Olympus. His own albums bring him neither fame nor money.

So the 60s pass, at the end of which Nelson buys a ranch, where he spends most of his time, combining songwriting with raising pigs, whiskey and marijuana.

History of weed and moving

In 1972, his estate burned down. There is a story about how Willy rushed into a burning house and ran out with a guitar case. This could become a beautiful legend in the world of music, if there really was an instrument in the case. In fact, it was filled with first-class marijuana.

After the fire, Nelson moved to Texas, where he finally opposed himself to the Nashville masters, organizing his own country festivals, which he calls "picnics". These concerts attract performers who do not fit into the canons of Nashville. It was at the "picnics" that outlaw country ("outlaw country") was born as a protest against Nashville shiny jackets, which brought Nelson world fame.

Album release

In 1975, Columbia released Willie's studio album Red Headed Stranger. It was success, fame and money. A little wrinkled, bearded, with Indian braids, dressed in frayed jeans, the minstrel leaves far behind the sleek country singers from Nashville. Nelson is listened to even by those who did not perceive the genre at all. Critics sing praises. And the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences awards Willie a Grammy statuette for the best performer of a country composition for the song "Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain".

Stardust on cowboy boots

Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson

The Wanderer's success was cemented in the Wanted! The Outlaws. After that, Nelson can afford to dictate terms to Columbia bosses. In 1977, he decides that he will record a record in the best traditions of pop music.

After meeting producer Booker T. Jones, Nelson asks him to "finish" the track Moonlight in Vermont. The result of the musician arranged so much that Willy chooses ten songs that were hits of his childhood, and together with Jones makes their covers. This collaboration resulted in the April 1978 album Stardust.

Columbia Records doubted that the record would be a success. Nelson was seen as a performer who captivated the audience solely with his "illegality". The leaders of the label were afraid that among the stars of the then pop music, Willy's songs would be just one of many.

But the studio bosses did not take into account that the United States is not only megacities, whose inhabitants are the main consumers of "pop". "One-story" provincial America "missed" its musical hero. Singing sincerely, simply, without pathos, in general, for people. And he appeared in the person of Nelson, who came with a set of country classics that are well known, dear and close to a simple American.

That is why the success of "Stardust" was predetermined. The album went platinum in December 1978. Nelson becomes the highest paid performer. And in 1979 he again received a Grammy for the composition from the Stardust album "Georgia On My Mind" and again as the best country performer.

Musician's achievements

In total, Nelson received 12 gramophones. And he was nominated for this award 51 times. And this is not just the recognition of Willy by the American musical community as a talented author and singer, a bright star. This is a tribute to the man who did not allow country music, as an important part of US folk culture, to slide into fake Nashville consumer goods. This is the recognition of Nelson as the keeper of the traditions of the genre, an iconic figure of the country renaissance.

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