Willie is a prolific songwriter and entertainer, and one country's most notorious "outlaws." Nelson began writing songs for others while his own career stalled in a morass of suits, whose attempt to turn him into a crooner failed. He retired from the music business for a while and returned to Texas, counseling buddy Waylon Jennings to stay in Phoenix rather than trying Nashville. But while living in Austin, Nelson found the underground music scene and he found an audience for his brand of country-blues-jazz-folk. He signed with Atlantic and released Shotgun Willie. He gained critical success, it didn't sell well.
The followup, Phases and Stages, produced a few hits, but it wasn't until 1975 and the release of the breakout Red Headed Stranger that Willie was finally catapulted to the superstardom he deserved.
Willie recorded numerous duets with pal Waylon, acted in several movies (including the western Barbarosa), and in later years got together with Waylon, Kris Kristofferson, and Johnny Cash to form "The Highwaymen." He's recorded dozens of albums, charted hundreds of songs, and seems to be just about everywhere these days, including duets with Toby Keith and Lee Ann Womack. He has fans from every walk of life and appeals to all ages. His Farm Aid concerts generate much-needed funding for American farmers, and his yearly "Picnic" concerts draw audiences from all over the country to Austin. He remains one of the most recognizable faces and voices in country music.