Willie Nelson Honored With Gershwin Prize for Popular Song
The famed singer and guitarist is called "an explorer who has redrawn the boundaries of country music throughout his career."
Willie Nelson is the latest recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.
The Gershwin prize recognizes a living music artist’s lifetime achievement in promoting song to enhance cultural understanding; entertaining and informing audiences; and inspiring new generations. The singer-songwriter and guitarist will be honored in Washington in November.
Previous recipients are Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, songwriting duo Burt Bacharach and the late Hal David, Carole King and Billy Joel.
“Willie Nelson is a musical explorer, redrawing the boundaries of country music throughout his career,” Librarian of Congress James Billington said Thursday in a statement. “A master communicator, the sincerity and universally appealing message of his lyrics place him in a category of his own while still remaining grounded in his country music roots.
“Like America itself, he has absorbed and assimilated diverse stylistic influences into his stories and songs. He has helped make country music one of the most universally beloved forms of American artistic expression.”
The founder of Farm Aid, the Texas native has more than 200 recordings, with albums including Shotgun Willie, Red Headed Stranger and Stardust, and he has written such country music standards as “Crazy,” “Hello Walls” and “Funny How Time Slips Away.”
In June, Nelson, 82, released Django and Jimmie, a collaboration with Merle Haggard that debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Country Album chart and at No. 7 on the Billboard 200 Bestselling Albums chart.
“It is an honor to be the next recipient of the Gershwin Prize. I appreciate it greatly,” said Nelson, who is headed to Los Angeles with a July 18 stop at the Greek Theatre.