Willie Nelson at Ruth Eckerd Hall

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Willie Nelson

Listen to WQYK April 22nd through April 26th for your chance to WIN a pair of tickets to see Willie Nelson in concert on Wednesday, May 1st at 8 pm at Ruth Eckerd Hall. Special guest Lukas Nelson will open the show. For more info visit website HERE!

If ever the words “living legend” were more than just public relations bluster, the application would be to Willie Hugh Nelson.

The iconic Texan is the creative genius behind historic recordings like Crazy, Hello Walls, Red Headed Stranger and Stardust. His career has spanned six decades. His catalog boasts more than 200 albums. He’s earned every conceivable award and honor to be bestowed on a person in his profession. He has also amassed reputable credentials as an author, actor and activist.

In many ways, however, the weighty distinction “living legend” does Nelson a disservice, for it discounts the extent to which he is a thriving, relevant and progressive musical and cultural force. In the last five years alone, he delivered 10 new releases, two of which received GRAMMY® nominations and a career-spanning box set, released his debut novel, and again headlined Farm Aid, an event he co-founded in 1985, all the while continuing to lobby against horse slaughter and produce his own blend of biodiesel fuel.

As ever, Nelson tours tirelessly, climbing aboard Honeysuckle Rose III (he rode his first two buses into the ground), taking his music and fans on a seemingly endless journey to places that were well worth the ride.

Born April 29, 1933 in Abbott, Texas, Nelson and his sister were raised by their paternal grandparents, who encouraged both children to play music. He began writing songs in elementary school and played in bands as a teenager. After high school, Nelson served a short stint in the Air Force, but music was a constant pull.

By the mid 1950s, he was working as a country deejay in Fort Worth while continuing to pursue a musical career, recording independently and playing nightclubs. He sold some of his original compositions, including Family Bible, which became a hit for Claude Gray in 1960.

That success and others convinced Nelson to move to Nashville, where record labels were initially resistant. His songwriting talents were quickly embraced, however, and 1961 proved to be his breakthrough year. His Hello Walls became a nine-week No. 1 for Faron Young and Patsy Cline’s version of Crazy became an instant classic ~website

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