Country music is an American style of music that was popularized in the early 1920s. It originated from the southern and western parts of the North American continent.
Country music is very distinct as it has the roots of ballad and folk songs, with heavy use of string and percussion instruments. Over the years, many bands and individual artists have been known under the genre.
Willie Nelson: Who Is He?
One of the most prominent names when it comes to country music is Willie Hugh Nelson. He was not only a musician, but he was also well-known as an activist, a poet, and an author. No one can deny, his talent really lies in the creative field.
Willie Nelson was born on April 30, 1933—during the time of the Great Depression. He was only seven years old when he started writing songs and poems. And by ten, he already formed a band.
At such a young age, Willie was already interested in becoming a musician. Music was the only thing that helped him cope up with the difficult times the Great Depression brought to the country and severely affected his little town.
He grew up with his grandparents, as he was unfortunately abandoned by his parents. He was forced to work even though he was but a young boy. It was his grandfather who influenced him with music.
As a matter of fact, he received his first guitar from him. From then on, Willie Nelson grew up to become one of the best country music artist the world has ever heard.
Willie Nelson Kickstarts His Career
After serving his country by joining the US Air Force, Willie Nelson started his formal career in the music industry as a disc jockey. With his grandfather already dead, he was the only one supporting his grandmother and himself. A few years later, he was asked to join Ray Price’s band. Ray Price was a famous rhythm-and-blues singer more often known as the Cherokee Cowboy.
With so many artists and musicians already popular during that decade, it was hard for Nelson to place his name among th top list. Even though he wrote songs such as “Night Life” and “Funny How Time Slips Away”—which all received good feedbacks—he remained mediocre compared to others.
But he did not give up. By the 1970s, along with another country music artist named Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson started the movement they call “progressive country” or “outlaw music.”
The aim of the outlaw music movement is to utilize and evolve from the current dominant style in country music. In a sense, it birthed a subgenre in the country music known as country rock. Nelson and Jennings broke free from the conservative constraints of the genre.
They started wearing different outfit style and they grew their hair. They released an album. “Red Headed Stranger” in 1975, and was surprisingly positively accepted by the community. One of the songs in the album with the title “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” was a massive hit and earned him a Grammy award.
His other notable songs that earned him a Grammy includes “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” in 1978, and “Always on My Mind” in 1982. This kickstarted Willie Nelson’s career and why he became one of the most influential country music folk. His innovation with music lead him to success.
The Legacy Nelson Left That Impacted The Country Music Community
Willie Nelson is the ultimate proof that artists do not have to fit in a certain genre to be successful. In his interviews, he often pointed out that he was an oddball who went against the stereotypes and constraints of the country music. He was rejected by numerous producers and was given an outsider status. Yet above everything, he rose.
In his own style, he was able to release not just one but numerous country hits. His successes became evident as he continuously topped charts and won multiple awards—whether with a single or an album. He did not stay with one genre and experimented with sounds. Nelson paved the way for other country music folks to find their own style and terms.
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