ISBN10: 0312119178 ISBN13: 9780312119171 Contributors: Cusic, Don (Editor) Publisher: St Martins Pr Published: Feb 1 1995 Weight: 0.80lbs. Height: 9.50" Width: 6.50" Depth: 1.00" Language: English
Shot through with dust and blood and the pains of the honky-tonk world, the songs Willie Nelson has written have been among the best country music has to offer. Like his inimitable voice, they're possessed of a raw beauty; like his manner, they resonate with affection and irony and sorrow and joy.
Nelson got his start as a songwriter in the fifties, slipping into the shoes of the honky-tonk greats of a generation before: Hank Williams, Leon Payne, Ray Price. Before he launched his performing career, he sold his songs to Billy Walker ("Funny How Time Slips Away"), Faron Young ("Hello Walls"), and Patsy Cline ("Crazy"). But he hit his stride only after he shrugged off the shackles of the Nashville establishment, his long hair and trademark bandanna saying less about the change in his persona than the groundbreaking concept albums, like Red-Headed Stranger and Tougher than Leather, that he began recording in the early seventies. Their deft weavings of old standards with Willie's new songs and interstitial elements made those albums the most important country discs of their time.
After a decade of further success that brought him a second career in film, and a series of troubles that resulted in the album The IRS Tapes, Willie Nelson entered the nineties with a million-selling album Across the Borderline, that confirmed his reputation, among the best of his colleagues, as a songwriter's songwriter. Four decades after his career began, Willie Nelson has earned his place among the poets of country music.