In honor of the legend’s 83rd birthday, here are 5 reasons to love Willie Nelson!
5. His unique voice. Dwight Yoakam says “I’d never heard anything like it,” referring to Nelson’s warm, laid-back whine and impeccably casual tone. “He’s not singing to you, he’s talking to you.”
4. The incredible phrasing in his his lyrics. Pat Green told the newspaper, The Eagle in 2014, when asked “What Willie song means the most to you?” “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground,” he blurts out. “I think the intro line … the first time you hear a song, it takes on meaning in your life. I had to rewind the cassette to listen to it again: ‘If you had not have fallen, then I would not have found you.’ And it’s about an angel. It’s just such a great come-out line. It’s really well-crafted.”
3. Trigger. Willie has played the same guitar for 46 years! He named Trigger after Roy Rogers’ horse. “I figured,” Nelson said about the guitar in Dallas Monthly, “this is my horse.” The article explained how the guitar has been maintained for the last 45 years – thanks, in large part, to Austin repairman Mark Erlewine, who reconditions Trigger twice a year. About the hole, he notes, “I always thought it enhanced the sound.” Trigger rarely leaves Nelson’s hands (he usually only trusts it with tech Tom Hawkins). According to article author Michael Hall, Nelson once punched a drunk Jerry Jeff Walker, who was fooling around with the guitar against his wishes.
2. His braids & bandana. According to The Eagle article, when Nelson returned to Texas in 1971, and made his way to Austin, his hair grew long and his sound more gritty. It has been said that fans will buy anything from their favorite musicians, and this was proven once again to be true as some old braids of Willie Nelson’s hair fetched $37,000 at auction in 2014. Sold by the estate of the late Waylon Jennings, the hair was just one in a number of unique pieces of musical memorabilia.
1. His “give a damn attitude.” Willie is gonna do it his way and rightfully so! If you’re gonna live the life Willie has, I think you can do what you want! It’s easy to see this “devil may care attitude” in last year’s CD collaboration with his buddy, the late great Merle Haggard, Django & Jimmie. Their first single “It’s All Going to Pot” which as you can guess HIGHlights (see what I did there?) the use of marijuana. As my friend over at SavingCountryMusic.com had said about that release, “Put aside your particular feelings on pot from a personal use or political standpoint and ‘It’s All Going to Pot’ is a fun, finely written gem for Willie and Merle to kick back and forth and convey the warm feeling you get simply by seeing the weathered but happy faces of these two old friends making music together.
The more I think about it, what’s NOT to love about Willie?!