Last Man Standing

Willie Nelson’s new album, set to be released April 27, marks Willie’s 85th birthday. The title track, which has already been released, has some extremely meaningful lyrics that summarize his life beautifully. “Go on in front if you’re in such a hurry like heaven ain’t waitin’ for you, I don’t wanna be the last man standin’ on second thought maybe I do.” Willie’s way of living throughout his whole life has been somewhat contradictory. He has always been extremely relaxed and mellow, perfectly fine to coast through life. On the other hand, he has never stayed in one place for very long, always searching for a new challenge. By the time he was 30 he had moved from Abott to Fort Worth to Houston to Dallas to Oregon to Austin to Los Angeles and to San Antonio. He has always been extremely laid back, but also restless in his life.

Willie’s upbringing also had a huge influence on his music. He was raised by his grandparents after both of his parents left, and his parents were extremely conservative methodists, so he and his sister both got their musical start in the methodist church. His grandpa died when he was 10, but not before buying him a guitar a few months before. Once his grandpa died, Willie, his sister, and his grandma had to barely scrape by picking cotton and doing whatever odd jobs they could do. When Willie was 13, he got a job in a band playing in bars, and initially when his grandma found out where he was playing, she disapproved, but after he gave her his first night’s pay, she let him keep playing. His pay was only $10 a night, but that was as much as the three of them were making per month. Willie’s christian upbringing never left him though, and influenced some of his most famous songs during his illustrious singing and songwriting career.

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Willie Nelson #1: Why

I’ve been an avid country music fan for my whole life. The relatable lyrics and bouncing, flowing melodies have drawn me to singers like Willie Nelson, George Strait and Hank Williams. I enjoy how personable their songs are, how each song sounds like they could be sitting across a campfire from you. Many country singers would have been good subjects for biographies, but I was drawn to Willie Nelson’s because he has had such a long life, and I have always been drawn to his songwriting style, and I was hoping that he would have the same flowing, lyrical writing in his autobiography. Thus far, I have not been disappointed. Willie’s personable songwriting style and lyrical sentences make reading his life story just like listening to his music. I knew Willie was born in a tiny town in Texas in the middle of one of the worst economic periods in history, the Great Depression, and walked a long road to becoming one of the most influential artists of all time, writing and playing music the whole way through.

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