Willie: An Autobiography by Willie Nelson

Willie: An Autobiography by Willie Nelson

Shotgun Willie

Last week I reviewed Cash: The Autobiography by Johnny Cash. A logical follow up to this is to review another autobiographical book by another country music legend and superstar, Willie Nelson.

Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson were both part of the “outlaw country” movement, which also included Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard, and more. Willie, Johnny, Waylon, and Kris formed the country music supergroup The Highwaymen, a great band that, although it may not have fully lived up to its promise, is well worth a listen if you like this kind of music.

Even better than the highwaymen are the duets performed by Willie and Johnny Cash, one of which was recorded for the VH1 Storytellers show. Besides the fantastic musical interplay between the two, you can hear some great stories.

Similarities between Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash continue, seeing that Willie has also written an autobiography, creatively titled Willie: An Autobiography. His engaging personality shines throughout. He came up in Texas out of poverty and undoubtedly paid his dues, playing some vividly described dives and having funny adventures. His first real fame came from his songwriting, especially when he sold “Crazy” to Patsy Cline.

Then through the seventies Willie slowly reached fame and then superstardom. He describes the madness of these times and the colorful personalities of his band members. He even smoked a joint on the roof of the white house while visiting President Carter!

Any fan of Willie will enjoy this book, and especially fans of country music in general, because he describes his meetings and collaborations with many of the central figures in country (and especially outlaw country) music.

So who do you like more, Johnny or Willie?