This April 20th (for reasons that should be evident), we’re honoring the Red Headed Stranger himself, Willie Nelson, who turns 80 on April 30th. It’s a big month for him because his newest album, Let’s Face the Music and Dance, his 67th studio album, was just released on the 16th, and he’s also been honored by Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony, as the Artist of the Month for April. Way to go!
Legacy’s Artist of the Month was launched at the beginning of this year and has given the honor to Janis Joplin in January, Nina Simone in February, and Sly and the Family Stone in March. Can’t argue with any of those. According to their verbiage, the program “provides fresh perspectives on musical legends whose sounds continue to affect people’s lives. The program enables new fans and deep aficionados the opportunity to focus on an essential figure in pop music history, whose principal catalog is a cornerstone of the Sony Music archives.”
Willie Nelson’s career has spanned nearly 60 years, dating all the way back to 1956. While he had performed more traditional music early on, he changed his style to the lovable rogue we know today with his 1973 album Shotgun Willie and his 1975 album Red Headed Stranger. He’s won 8 Grammy awards between 1975 and 2008 and has been honored by the Recording Academy and the Kennedy Center.
This being 4/20, and Willie being a proponent of things associated with that number, we’re pleased to be able to celebrate the great man with a contest giving away a prize package of Willie Nelson swag. No, nothing of the now-legal-in-Colorado variety, but still some really good things. One lucky winner will receive a copy of Willie’s new album, Let’s Face the Music and Dance on CD, one copy on vinyl, a copy of his book Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die, a “Willie Nelson for President” t-shirt, an “I Heart Willie” onesie (for an infant), and a Willie Nelson wall calendar. That’s a whole heaping helping of Outlaw Country for you.
To enter, all you have to do is head over to the contest page, then hit up our Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages to give yourself extra chances. Willie would want you to have as much help as possible; you’re always on his mind, you know.
Have a happy birthday, Willie! Here’s to 80 more!