Tomorrow is Willie Nelson’s 80th birthday. He might just be the coolest 80-year-old out there.

For some Willie reading, last year Texas Monthly did an oral history of outlaw country — “That Seventies Show”:

Up to that point, the cosmic cowboys had played to crowds that looked largely like they did. Willie brought a different audience; though he’d never made it big as a performer nationally, he’d always been able to fill a Texas honky-tonk. Once he figured out how to bring the hippies and the rednecks together, the scene grew into something no one had seen before. Most folks have always credited that to his innate charisma, to the idea that Austin was the place where Willie was finally allowed to be Willie. But the fact is, Willie came to town with a specific goal in mind: building a scene that would allow him to ignore Nashville completely. And he pulled that off with more than luck and a smile.

A Fresh Air interview with the birthday boy.

HT The Morning News

Image via Bronx Banter

Willie created a specific geographic and economic context for his art. The part about being able to ignore Nashville is tremendously important.

April 29, 2013