Matthew and Gunnar Nelson at Victoria Shaw ‑ Under the Covers w special guests

Where: Monday, May 16, 2016, 7:00 PM
New York, NY, USA

Iconic American music legend Willie Nelson set the bar for country music with a music career that dates back since the 1950s.

Born during the great American depression on 29 April 1933 in Abbott, Texas, Willie Hugh Nelson worked some odd jobs and had a short-lived college career at Baylor University until he left it all to pursue a music career. He caught his big break in 1961 when he signed with Liberty Records and by 1962 released his first record “…And Then I Wrote.” By the fall of 1964 Nelson moved to RCA records, released “Country Willie- His Own Songs” and joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1965. While some of his songs charted, Nelson was finding difficulty to fully stay afloat and from his frustration retired from music around 1972.

But that was not the end of Willie Nelson. He moved to Texas and the growing hippie music scene revived his love for singing. Playing songs inspired by all of his influences, he started to gain a following in Texas, eventually signing with Atlantic Records, becoming their very first country artist. By February 1973 he had started recording what was to be one of his most iconic records “Shotgun Willie.” The album didn’t do so well at first, and Nelson released one more album before moving labels again, this time to Columbia Records, a move that allowed him complete creative control. This change was exactly what he needed to “turn around” his music career, starting with the critically acclaimed “Red Headed Stranger” album; additionally it lent to the creation of the outlaw country genre, as it did not fit with the traditional country music standards.

The rest of the 70s he found himself with four albums reaching gold and platinum status, one of which was his first gospel album. And the 80s were just as successful with three Grammy awards for Song of the Year, Best Country Song and Best Male Country Vocal Performance. However in 1990 Nelson ran into some legal trouble with the IRS, allegedly owing over $30,000 in tax money. Luckily things worked out, with his lawyer getting a lowered payment and Nelson using the scenario as inspiration for an album he entitled “The IRS Tapes: Who’ll Buy My Memories?”

Even at the age of 81 Willie Nelson continues to thrive. He continues to put out new music, play for his fans and be active with Farm Aid, an activist movement he helped start to increase the awareness of the importance of family farms.

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