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Happy Birthday Willie! Hour-Long Special on Willie Nelson's Life and Music

Willie Nelson being interviewed by host Joe Nick Patoski, Austin Texas. Photo: Joe Nick Patoski, KRTS.

Willie Nelson's 80th birthday was Tuesday, April 30th and Marfa Public Radio celebrated with a special hour-long program exploring the life and music of the esteemed country singer, songwriter, poet and all-around Texas legend.

Click the player below to hear the show!

The program is hosted by Joe Nick Patoski, author of a recent biography of the Red Headed Stranger and host of the Texas Music Hour of Power. The show looks at Willie's progression from clean-cut Nashville country crooner to the bearded, braided "peace-monger" who (somehow) managed to unite the hippies and rednecks over Lone Star and the sounds of Hank Williams and Faron Young, inside the walls of a quaint Austin venue known as the Armadillo World Headquarters.

A highlight of the program is Willie's first-ever recording, a song by the name of "When I Sang My Last Hillbillie Song," cut as a demo for Sarg Records in 1958 and not released at the time (the label's owner, a WWII veteran and former jukebox seller namedCharlie Fitch, decided not to sign the young singer after hearing the demo.)