Willie Nelson to Be Honored By Library of Congress
Willie Nelson will be honored with the Library of Congress's Gershwin Prize for Popular Song later this year.
With more than 200 recordings, a New York Times best-selling book and an undeniable legacy in country music to his name, Nelson is more than deserving of this prestigious award. He joins a long list of notable recipients of the national library's pop music prize, including Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon (the award's first-ever recipient) and Paul McCartney.
The Gershwin Prize is named after composers and brothers George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin and is given to recipients who "exemplify the standard of excellence associated with the Gershwins." In November, Nelson will head to Washington to receive the prize, where he'll be celebrated with a concert and other honors.
Librarian of Congress James Billington says that the native Texan is a "musical explorer" and cites Nelson's ability to reshape the boundaries of country music by bringing jazz, blues, folk, rock and Latin styles into the mix as a major reason that the country legend will receive the award.
"A master communicator, the sincerity and universally appealing message of his lyrics place him in a category of his own while still remaining grounded in his country music roots," Billington adds. "Like America itself, he has absorbed and assimilated diverse stylistic influences into his stories and songs. He has helped make country music one of the most universally beloved forms of American artistic expression."
Though Nelson is 82, the singer is still hyper-focused on making music. He and longtime buddy Merle Haggard released Django and Jimmie at the beginning of June, and it debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard country charts.
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