By 1964, Willie had signed a new record deal with RCA Victor. His first album, Country Willie – His Own Songs, was recorded in 1965, the same year he joined the Grand Ole Opry. The albums that were released by RCA did not do well but the label still wanted Willie to renew his contract. Willie, however, decided to retire and move to Austin, Texas.
He continued to play music, frequenting the Armadillo World Headquarters, where he felt more at home and started to reinvent himself. The music vibe in Austin was akin to Willie’s hippie lifestyle and he decided to get back to recording music. He signed a deal with Atlantic Records, becoming the label’s first country artist. He was well on his way to becoming an artist who would someday be selling thousands of tickets to his live shows. While under contract with Atlantic, he released the albums Shotgun Willie and Phases and Stages before once again switching labels and signing with Columbia Records.
Over the years, Willie Nelson continued to release albums, experimenting with other music genres like reggae, jazz, blues and folk. In 2005, he released a reggae album, Countryman. He did a lot of touring under a variety of record labels and his music often received mixed reviews.
While Willie was recording and performing in the 1990s and 2000s, he collaborated with several other artists, including Phish, Johnny Cash, Ringo Starr and Toby Keith. The video for the song “Beer for My Horses,” which Nelson recorded with Keith, won Best Video at the 2004 Academy of Country Music Awards.
In 2005, Willie headlined the 2005 Tsunami Relief Austin to Asia concert. Proceeds benefited victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. Additional project partnerships involved a duet with Ray Charles, jazz trumpet player Wynton Marsalis and Norah Jones.
How to Buy Tickets to Willie Nelson Shows
As much as Willie Nelson might enjoy selling concert tickets in exchange for marijuana, you do need to purchase them with actual money. Luckily, SeatRetriever has great deals on tickets to shows so you don’t need to worry about breaking the bank to hear Willie live.
Willie Nelson has more on his resume than just making music. He is also an actor, activist, author and spokesman. His first movie appearance was in 1979 in the film The Electric Horseman, and he later appeared in Honeysuckle Rose, Wag the Dog, Half Baked, The Dukes of Hazzard and Swing Vote. His television guest appearances include Miami Vice, Nash Bridges, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and Space Ghost Coast to Coast . He is on the advisory board of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and owns the bio-diesel brand Willie Nelson Biodiesel.
His first book, Willie: An Autobiography, was released in 1988. He went on to write several more books, including a new autobiography, Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die: Musings from the Road that came out in 2012.
Willie became the official spokesman for Texas Roadhouse in 2002. He has appeared on Food Network to promote the steakhouse chain, which has a special section full of Willie Nelson memorabilia at some locations.
The Willie Nelson Experience
In true outlaw style, Willie Nelson is sure to draw fans in with his classic songs and laid back personality. There’s a good chance he’ll advocate for marijuana legalization and might be high when he does. But that won’t stop him from putting on a darn good show.
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