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Published: 2015/08/05
by Larson Sutton

Willie Nelson and David Ritz
It’s A Long Story

Willie Nelson has a simple explanation for the title of his latest book, It’s A Long Story : The 82-year-old Texas troubadour considers songs to be his short stories, and therefore anything longer is a long one. He’s written an autobiography before, and this latest does repeat some of the gems from the past like toking cannabis on the White House roof. In fact, Nelson’s marijuana musings are fairly explicit and recurring, likely in response to a relaxing of public opinion toward one of his great loves, (family, music, and nature being the others). The facts are where they should be and, even for those that know them, provide plentiful opportunities for Nelson’s humorous honesty. His songs, those short stories, get the royal treatment, though. With many of the lyrics reprinted and the context of their origins explained in depth, Nelson tacitly reminds us of just how many classics he’s etched into the American songbook. He’s opinionated and imperfect, and eager to clarify his trouble with the IRS that had the potential to ruin his career and instead defined him as a sympathetic outlaw and a survivor. Willie Nelson may think his life’s story is a long one, but he’s beloved for every word.

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