If there’s one thing I could use as a new read, it’s a book by Willie Nelson diving into and describing his massive catalogue of songs.
Energy Follows Thought: The Stories Behind My Songs is set to release on October 31st of this year and explore 160 of Nelson’s greatest musical contributions.
The book is co-written by David Ritz and Willie’s longtime harmonica player Mickey Raphael, with Ritz having worked with Nelson on his other recent publications, It’s A Long Story: My Life in 2015 and Pretty Paper in 2016.
This particular book is set to uncover Willie’s seven-decade run in country music, hitting on in his early hits, some deeper cuts, and even unpacking some of his more conceptual offerings that he has shared with fans over the years, according to Rolling Stone.
HarperCollins, the publisher of the upcoming book, gave this description:
“Willie is disarmingly honest, what do you have to lose when you’re about to turn 90? – meditating on the nature of songwriting and finding his voice, and the themes he’s explored his whole life – relationships, infidelity, love, loss, friendship, life on the road, and particularly poignant at this juncture of his life: mortality.
Revealing, funny, whimsical, and wise, this book is an enduring tribute to Willie Nelson’s legacy.”
The book will also share never-before-seen photos from various points of the Willie Nelson’s career, which now belongs to both the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame.
Nelson will also use Energy Follows Thoughts to tell stories of his many collaborations with the likes of Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, Ray Charles, and many others.
The longevity of Nelson, who just celebrated his 90th birthday with multiple on-stage performances, has always been an intriguing part of country music lore.
His 2015 book about his life offered many insights into how he carries himself, but this new book should give a glimpse into Nelson’s talented songwriting and what makes him tick when it comes to creating music.
I think I can speak for all of country music fans when I say I can’t wait for the book to hit shelves in late October, and though I never have pre-ordered a book, this Willie Nelson project might be enough to convince me to hit the pre-order button.
And if you missed his 90th birthday celebration concert at the Hollywood Bowl, it’s going to hit theaters next month.
Willie Nelson To Be Officially Inducted Into The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame
When it comes to one of the most well-rounded, all time great singer/songwriters in all of music, Willie Nelson is right up there with the best of them.
Although Shotgun Willie’s primary genre was country music, the guy was never afraid to venture out and try a different sound, and throughout his 99 studio albums that have spanned from 1956 up to now, we’ve seen the guy dabble in country, blues, jazz, gospel, and even rock & roll.
Needless to say, the 90-year-old Texan has done it all throughout his career, and that’s why we all love the guy.
With that being said, it appears that another accolade will be added to Nelson’s long list of musical accomplishments, as the guy is officially set for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, according to Billboard.
Nelson is joined by Kate Bush, Rage Against the Machine, Missy Elliott, Sheryl Crow, George Michael and the Spinners, who all rounded out the impressive class of 2023. A Tribe Called Quest, Iron Maiden, Joy Division/New Order, Cyndi Lauper, Soundgarden, the White Stripes and Warren Zevon were all nominated but did not make it into the class this year.
Despite the name, the Rock & Roll Halle of Fame inducts artists from all genres, and has sport of become the de facto “music hall of fame.” Whether that makes any sense (to me it doesn’t) we can debate about later, but it does seem a little silly to have pop stars, country artists and rappers something titled the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
That being said, the nominees are chosen by 1,000 voters each year, including members of the music industry, former inductees and historians. They consider length and depth of career and the body of work, innovation and superiority in style and technique are taken into consideration, according to the hall of fame.
It’s hard to find a guy in country music who is more deserving of this honor, as Nelson has been able to reach such a broad variety of audiences throughout his extensive career.
Its great to see country artists who’ve always chosen to do things their own way finally get recognition from other genres, as we saw Dolly Parton get inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame last year.
These inductees will be celebrated at an induction ceremony and concert to take place November 3rd at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Country Singers In The Rock Hall
Chet Atkins (2002)
Guitar player, songwriter producer, Chet is credited with being a significant player in developing the “Nashville Sound.” He was inducted in the Musical Excellence category which “shall be given to artists, musicians, songwriters and producers whose originality and influence creating music have had a dramatic impact on music.”
Johnny Cash (1992)
The man who needs no explanation…
Floyd Cramer (2003)
A Nashville session piano player, like Chet Atkins, Floyd was inducted into the Rock Hall under the Musical Excellence category.
Bill Monroe (1997)
The skilled singer, songwriter and mandolin player is known as The Father of Bluegrass Music.
Jimmie Rodgers (1986)
Known as the Father of Country Music, he was inducted in the Early Influences category which “shall be given to a performing artist or group whose music and performance style have directly influenced and helped inspire and evolve rock & roll and music that has impacted youth culture.”
Other Early Influences include acts like Chuck Berry, Ray Charles, the Everly Brothers, James Brown and Bob Wills.
Hank Williams (1987)
Also needs no explanation…
Bob Willis and His Texas Playboys (1999)
As mentioned previously, Bob Wills was inducted in the Early Influences category for his pioneering work in country music. Known as the King of Western Swing, he influenced the likes of Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, and more.
Dolly Parton (2022)
She was inducted last year after initially declining the invitation.
Willie Nelson (2023)
The newest member in the Class of 2023.
Of course there are a few more artists that are both Country Music Hall of Famers and Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, however they’re not known primarily for being country artists. Artists like Elvis Presley, the Everly Brothers, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Brenda Lee, Wanda Jackson, Sam Phillips or Ray Charles.