Fire up Spotify and feast on our list of many of the legend’s greatest tunes.
On the cover of the July 2017 edition of Cowboys & Indians (on newsstands June 6) we’re featuring one of the most prolific and enduring artists of any generation.
At 84 years old, Texas’ beloved Red Headed Stranger Willie Nelson continues his ever-expanding legacy of authentic roots music and dynamic live performances — his 4th of July Picnic will return to Austin this year, and he’ll also be the focus of a festival tour featuring everyone from Bob Dylan to Sheryl Crow as co-headliners.
Achieving the status of consummate road warrior and timeless musical icon has rarely been a solo journey for Nelson. Since before the country-outlaw days of 1970s Texas, he has surrounded himself with like-minded individuals who put true musicianship and good vibes first. Everyone seems to love the man, which is why Willie’s “family” comprises both blood relatives and bosom buddies.
Like many a music lover, I’ve enjoyed heaping helpings of his tunes throughout my life. I’ve also heard impassioned fan stories from septuagenarian relatives, fellow middle-aged friends, and young’uns in the family who’ve only just discovered the magic of vinyl records. Willie’s appeal transcends age and status; the sight of his weathered face and the sound of his well-worn voice and Martin guitar evoke a bevy of emotions for fans of all stripes around the world.
Whether it’s the classic anthem “On the Road Again,” the bookend barnburner “Whiskey River,” a pensive cover such as “Stardust,” or a tearful lament like “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground,” his songs make up the kind of catalog that could fuel a lifetime of diverse road-trip playlists. Below, you'll find a playlist we've put together that touches on many of Willie's creative peaks. You can listen to as you consider Willie's legacy and/or embark on your own summer vacation.
Read our cover story with Willie Nelson in the July 2017 issue on newsstands June 6.