In the summer of 2014, I had the pleasure of seeing Willie Nelson live at Ravinia in Chicago. Together with Alison Kraus and the Union Station band, Willie filled the night with amazing music and helped open my eyes (and ears!) to the beauty of classic country tunes.
After seeing Willie live, I ran to the store and bought two or three of his albums, including his recent duets album titled “To All the Girls” – which is fantastic, by the way. I quickly fell in love with Willie’s unique way of singing and the wonderful stories he tells through his music.
Not surprisingly, Willie is a master of songwriting. After all, he has 80+ years of experience to pull from! And in his autobiography, It’s a Long Story: My Life, Willie tells the story behind the stories, diving into his own life in a series of memories told “as clear as a Texas sky and in the same rhythm that I lived it.”
Filled with stories about growing up in Abbott, Texas, of selling vacuum cleaners and encyclopedias, of writing song after song and trying, despite all odds, to strike big in the music business, It’s a Long Story is an intimate and candid look into the life of the man who influenced the art of songwriting.
One of the most surprising things I learned in reading It’s a Long Story was the massive influence Willie Nelson has had on the music industry…not just in his style of singing or his love of musical storytelling, but in the lyrics he’s written, both for himself and other artists. Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues”, Patsy Cline’s “Crazy”, and Elvis’s “Heartbreak Hotel” are just SOME of the popular tunes that were actually written by Willie Nelson.
A funny and honest story about true love, wild adventures, friends and family, It’s a Long Story opens the door into the life of one man who entertained millions with his tales of adventures on the road, at home, and on the road again.
Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.