STARRED REVIEW
May 2015

Willie’s World

By Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson was born to be a rambling man, but he was also born to be a gifted songwriter and storyteller. In his rambunctious and meandering memoir, It’s a Long Story, Nelson regales readers with stories of his life, from his childhood in Abbott, Texas, to his now-famous run-in with the IRS over back taxes in the 1990s.
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Willie Nelson was born to be a rambling man, but he was also born to be a gifted songwriter and storyteller. In his rambunctious and meandering memoir, It’s a Long Story, Nelson regales readers with stories of his life, from his childhood in Abbott, Texas, to his now-famous run-in with the IRS over back taxes in the 1990s.

Nelson attributes both his love of music and his penchant for the peripatetic life of a singer to Ernest Tubb, the Texas Troubadour, whose candor in crooning the blues made a deep mark on the young Nelson. By the time he was 7 or 8, he received his first guitar and began to realize that music and emotions could be combined; as a result, Nelson was motivated to keep writing poems, to learn to play his guitar with “crazy precision” and to use songs to overcome his shyness.

Although fans may be familiar with many of the stories here, they will nevertheless be entertained as Nelson recalls his first night in Nashville—where he lay down in the middle of Broadway—or his efforts to save a guitar case full of pot from a house fire. He also discusses his three marriages and his relationships with musicians from Ray Price and Johnny Cash to Waylon Jennings and Leon Russell. Above all, the music is the thing for Nelson: “Love every style. Love every musical thing. . . . You will become a part of everything. And everything will become part of you.”

 

This article was originally published in the May 2015 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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It’s a Long Story

It’s a Long Story

By Willie Nelson
Little, Brown
ISBN 9780316403559

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