Veteran Texas music writer Joe Nick Patoski has delivered a fitting testament to Nelson's epic life with a new biography, appropriately titled An Epic Life (Little, Brown). A painstakingly researched 567-page tome, An Epic Life chronicles Nelson's slow, frustrating rise and his groundbreaking cultural achievement: linking earnest folkies, longhaired hippies, and C&W-loving cowboys under his inclusive tent.
Among the great anecdotes: A young Willie getting a job in Nashville as an encyclopedia salesman, and quickly quitting when a dog chased him back to the car; Willie, aware that Patsy Cline didn't care for his music, sheepishly waiting in the car while his music publisher, Hank Cochran, tried to sell "Crazy" to her; a drunk Jerry Jeff Walker trying to grab Nelson's beloved guitar, Trigger, and getting a good pummeling for his efforts; and Nelson having an epiphany when he saw a hippie rock band called Freda and the Firedogs (led by a very young Marcia Ball) play an Austin benefit for legislative candidate Lloyd Doggett at the Broken Spoke, a haven for the kicker crowd. Willie called his old friend Waylon Jennings, told him that something was stirring in Austin, and the rest is Outlaw Country history.
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