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Episode 163 of 172

Willie Nelson - Red Headed Stranger

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It can be difficult to recall on occasion that Willie Nelson is more than just the proverbial Kevin Bacon of country music: true, he's recorded with everyone, true, he's become revered beyond his wildest dreams among a large swath of the American music loving public, and true, he once managed to wrangle his way out of trouble with the IRS, in part, by cutting some Doritos commercials. It's been a weird ride. But there was a time when he found himself at the crossroads to a great enough extent that he laid down in the street in hopes that he might not get up again. This was more than the act of a man who wrote Patsy Cline's breakout hit "Crazy." It was, at the time, an act of desperation. And how delightful it must have felt, then, years later, when he worked his industry position into an album delivered the way that he wanted it, on his terms. He delivered something Nashville brass had no concept might work: a stripped down, road weary tale of a man looking for answers is a world that kept them just out of reach. In the end, the audience had the final say. Let's unspool what all the fuss was about.