Willie Nelson Statue Unveiled in Austin on 4/20

12:50 PM PST 04/21/2012 by Shirley Halperin
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The country music legend will now have a permanent home in the "live music capital of the world." Downtown Austin also paid tribute to the 78-year-old outlaw by adorning the W Hotel logo with a replica of his signature braids.

Willie Nelson will have a permanent home in the Texas capital of Austin -- in the form of a statue. Standing at 8 feet tall and weighing about a ton, a bronze sculpture of the country music legend was donated to the city by the nonprofit CAST, Austin’s Capital Area Statues, who commissioned the work by Philadelphia artist Clete Shields.

The dedication ceremony was held on on 2nd Street, otherwise known as Willie Nelson Boulevard, on April 20, or 4/20, which happens to be the unofficial holiday of pot smokers (read about the origin of the term here). Nelson has been an outspoken marijuana advocate for decades with several arrests to his name (the latest in Sierra Blanca, Texas in 2010) and recently released a track called “Roll Me Up,” which features fellow pot culture icon Snoop Dogg.

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Although not a native of Austin, Nelson has long been affiliated with the city having recorded there extensively and performed in the area frequently. “We felt like he just embodies Austin’s self-defined status as the Live Music Capital of the World,” said Vincent Salas, a member of CAST’s board.

Indeed, even downtown Austin’s W Hotel decorated its exterior which a replica of Nelson’s signature braids (see image below). Added Salas: “He also is just one of those guys that has been able to enamor multiple generations -- not just one. He’s so iconic to the music industry.”

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The 78-year-old Nelson was not involved in the creative process but did attend the dedication, after which he commented: “I would like to thank the city of Austin, Texas for this great honor. Thank you for the statue. Thank you for the street and thank you for the W Hotel. 4/20 is a good day.”

Twitter: @THRMusic

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