Thursday, April 12, 2018

Last Man Standing: The Quiet Genius of Willie Nelson

Heather Wilhelm

‘I think you can do more with music than you can with arguments and politics,’ says the octogenarian country-music legend.

‘I’ll quit when Willie quits.” That’s the back of a T-shirt crafted by the folks at Poodie’s, a Texas Hill Country bar and roadhouse featuring regular live music. Poodie’s was founded by Willie Nelson’s late stage manager and close friend, Poodie Locke. The braided country legend, meanwhile, has certainly not yet quit. After a string of flu-related show cancellations, Willie is back on the road and due to release his 73rd studio album on April 27. Two days later, he’ll turn 85. These days, much of the talk surrounding Willie Nelson involves quiet awe that he’s still running around like he always has — singing and songwriting and touring and utilizing his fifth-degree martial arts black belt — rather than kicking back, relaxing, and calling it a day. Nelson’s album from last year, God’s Problem Child, boasts the delightful song “Still Not Dead”: I woke up still not dead again today. The Internet said I had passed away. If I died I wasn’t dead to stay. And I woke up still not dead again today. His new album, Last Man Standing, also toys with the theme of mortality. “I don’t wanna be the last man standing,” Nelson sings, mentioning his friends — “Waylon and Ray and Merle and old Norro” — who have passed on. “Or wait a minute,” he adds, “maybe I do.”...MORE

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