Willie Nelson to receive the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song

"Willie Nelson is a musical explorer, redrawing the boundaries of country music throughout his career," says Librarian of Congress James Billington.
By Karen Butler  |  July 9, 2015 at 1:39 PM
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WASHINGTON, July 9 (UPI) -- Country music titan Willie Nelson is to be presented with the 2015 Gershwin Prize for Popular Song this November, the U.S. Library of Congress announced Thursday.

Previous recipients include Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, songwriting duo Burt Bacharach and the late Hal David, Carole King and Billy Joel.

"Willie Nelson is a musical explorer, redrawing the boundaries of country music throughout his career," Librarian of Congress James Billington said in a statement. "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. His achievements as a songwriter and performer are legendary. 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."

"It is an honor to be the next recipient of the Gershwin Prize. I appreciate it greatly," Nelson said.

With 200-plus recordings, the 82-year-old Texan established his place in music history with the albums Shotgun Willie, Red Headed Stranger and Stardust. He is also the songwriter of many country-music standards, including "Crazy," "Hello Walls" and "Funny How Time Slips Away."

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