In his long and eclectic career, Willie Nelson has recorded country music, standards, gospel, and much more. With an impressive string of albums--the first released in 1965--and a memeber of the Highwaymen (with country legends Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Johnny Cash) Willie Nelson pioneered the "Outlaw" country movement and has left his mark on the American musical landscape.
Willie grew up in the farming country of Central Texas working alongside migrant and tenant farmers. I was raised and worked in the cotton fields around Abbott with a lot of African-Americans and a lot of Mexican-Americans, and we listened to their music all the time. I guess thats why I was influenced a lot by those around me -- there was a lot of singing that went on in the cotton fields, said Nelson.
When, at a tender age, he began playing in honky-tonks, where the jukeboxes were ruled by the Western Swing, jazz and jump blues of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. Ive always sung Milk Cow Blues, Nelson continued, It was one of the first songs I played when I started working in beer joints. From that, I really got into the blues, and learned a lot of other blues songs. Then, later on, I would visit other beer joints around Texas -- one time I used to deliver laundry and linens, so I made it to a lot of beer joints, and I heard a lot of great music on those jukeboxes. I got really addicted, and then I started trying to find out where all this good music could be found on the radio.