Performing Arts

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Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson

Willie Hugh Nelson (born April 29, 1933) is an American musician, actor, and activist. His mother left soon after he was born, and his father remarried and also moved away, leaving Nelson and his sister Bobbie to be raised by their grandparents, who taught singing back in Arkansas and started their grandchildren in music. Nelson's grandfather bought him a guitar when he was six, and taught him a few chords, and Nelson sang gospel songs in the local church alongside Bobbie. He wrote his first song at age seven, and when he was nine, he played guitar for local band Bohemian Polka. During the summer, the family picked cotton alongside other Abbott residents. Nelson disliked picking cotton, so he earned money by singing in dance halls, taverns, and honky tonks from age 13, which he continued through high school. His musical influences were Hank Williams, Bob Wills, Lefty Frizzell, Ray Price, Ernest Tubb, Hank Snow, Django Reinhardt, Frank Sinatra, and Louis Armstrong.