April 30th - Happy 75th Birthday, Willie!

For the truly multi-dimensional Willie Nelson (b. 1933) - singer, songwriter, Gypsy jazz guitarist, producer, bandleader, family man, perennially touring musician, Hollywood actor, entrepreneur, rancher, golfer, proud Texan, and godfather of music's Outlaw Country movement - it has really been One Hell Of A Ride. Shotgun Willie, whose 75th birthday is celebrated on April 30, 2008, has been making music over the course of eight distinct decades - from the 1930s to the '00s - and has been a recording artist for more than five of those decades.

For the first time, in honor of his big seven-five, the appropriately
titled box set ONE HELL OF A RIDE draws together the entire span of
Willie's recording career, with tracks representing a dozen different
record labels. To underscore the scope of this unprecedented project, the
box set opens with Willie's first single recording under his own name,
"When I've Sang My Last Hillbilly Song" (cut in 1954 or '55 for a small
Texas label, but not released by the owner for another two decades) - and
closes with a brand new version of the song recorded by Willie in 2007.

The largest U.S. box set compendium of his work to date weighs in with
100 of Willie's personal favorite tracks - and a magnificent 100-page
full-color book with dozens of never-before seen photographs, and full
discographical information. Liner notes include an introduction by
long-time harmonica player Mickey Raphael and an 8, 000-word liner notes
essay by Texas musician and music journalist Joe Nick Patoski (author of
the upcoming biography Willie Nelson: An Epic Life, Little, Brown & Co.,
April 2008). ONE HELL OF A RIDE arrived in stores April 1st on Columbia/

"It has been an amazing education, " Mickey Raphael writes in the
introduction to ONE HELL OF A RIDE. "Willie's drummer, Paul English taught
me the subtleties of music, and Willie taught me the mysteries. When the
band is cookin' it becomes a living, breathing organism that unites with
itself and the audience."

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