cover image It’s a Long Story: My Life

It’s a Long Story: My Life

Willie Nelson. Little, Brown, $30 (400p) ISBN 978-0-3164-0355-9

Picking up where he left off in 2012’s Roll me Up and Smoke Me When I Die, Nelson shares intimate and entertaining details of his life behind the guitar, the ups and downs of his marriages, his infamous encounter with the IRS, and his deep love of making music. Nelson, a scrappy youngster whose schoolmates nicknamed him Booger Red, was raised by his grandparents and found music everywhere he went, from the songs of field workers picking cotton or baling hay to the sounds of his blacksmith grandfather’s anvil. By the time Nelson was eight, he was writing songs and playing guitar, and his decision to be a wandering singer like his hero, Ernest Tubb, was set. Nelson spent his early years as a disc jockey, getting to know the music industry from outside the studio and learning about all styles of music. He shares stories of his close friendships with Ray Price, who advises Nelson to be prudent with his money; Waylon Jennings; and Leon Russell, who helps Nelson put together his Woodstock-style Fourth of July picnic on Nelson’s ranch. Nelson offers a warm, friendly, and a deeply reflective glimpse behind the making of most of his albums as well as behind-the-scenes looks at some of his best-known hits, such as “Crazy” and “Yesterday’s Wine.” Reading Nelson’s narrative is like sitting on the front porch chatting with an old friend. (May)