The first impression that one gets of Willie Nelson is that of a tough man who has weathered many storms in his life, and despite the pockmarks of events such as the suicide of his son, Billy, and a much-publicized $ 16.7 million debt to the IRS, we still find this singer-songwriter still going strong even now.
Music, it seemed, flowed through his veins, and right from the age of six when his grandparents bought him a guitar, Nelson began his journey as a performer and singer-songwriter. And just like all musicians who have come up the hard way, he continued to work in menial jobs such as that of a janitor, a bible salesman including the U.S Air Force until he achieved what he had set out to do.
In the early 60s though, his brilliance as a performer was not accepted but his ability to write great songs were recognized when he was given a publishing contract at Pamper Music. And while his singing voice did not impress the producers in Nashville, he was able to cut several country music albums when he moved to RCA Victor Records while also joining the Grand Ole Opry.
After spending his time here for a few years, a decision to retire made him move to Austin, and with the ‘hippie’ music scene playing its strange siren song, Nelson returned to country music again only this time being heavily influenced by jazz, western swing, folk and rock n roll influences.
From there on until now, Nelson has blazed a path like no other and is for all practical purposes, is considered an American icon by virtue of being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1993.