Friday, July 10, 2015

Willie Nelson to receive Library of Congress Gershwin Prize

Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for NARAS
Yesterday, James Billington, Librarian of Congress, announced that country music singer Willie Nelson will receive the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.

With over six decades, Willie Nelson has expanded his country music roots to infuse into the musical styles of jazz, blues, folk, and rock. He continues to inspire musicians with his unique voice and guitar playing style.

In November, Nelson will receive the honor in Washington, D.C. There will be a series of events honoring his lifetime achievement in promoting songs to enhance cultural understanding, entertaining and informing audiences, and inspiring new generations.

"Willie Nelson is a musical explorer, redrawing the boundaries of country music throughout his career," Billington said. "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. His achievements as a songwriter and performer are legendary. 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."

"It is an honor to be the next recipient of the Gershwin Prize. I appreciate it greatly," Willie Nelson said.

Willie Nelson has recorded over 200 songs, including country music standards, "Crazy," "Hello Walls," "On the Road Again," and "Funny How Time Slips Away."

Despite his age, Willie Nelson has not slowed down. He is an author, actor, singer, and activist. He received his 5th degree black belt in Gongkwon Yusul. He is the leader of Farm Aid, helping family farmers across the United States. Recently, Willie Nelson, along with Merle Haggard, debuted at number one on the Billboard Country Album Chart and number seven on the Billboard 200 Bestselling Album Chart for their album, "Django and Jimmie."