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Making Music is Not Easy. Willie Nelson Just Makes it Look Easy

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Nobody can say that Willie Nelson follows the crowd. He started as a button-downed singer-songwriter in Nashville and now is the world’s oldest hippie. He does it all with an authentic, easy-going and unique style. Not many people have worked with Merle Haggard, Kenny Rogers — and Snoop Dogg.

Nelson helps out Haggard on the latter’s Vietnam War era song Okie from Muskogee — it’s a funny song for him to sing — and My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys (the video has great photos). Cheryl Crow helps on City of New Orleans. Signature Nelson songs are On the Road Again, Crazy (a huge hit for Patsy Cline), Funny How Time Slips Away and Night Life.

Here is Nelson’s bio, website and a few of his quotable quotes. A bust of Nelson was unveiled in Nashville on the national day of protest in favor of the legalization of marijuana. Much hilarity ensued.

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Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.


What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.


The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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