This week Nobel prizes were announced and there was a collective, global wide gasp when it was put forth that Bob Dylan won the 2016 Nobel prize for literature. Bob Dylan! I immediately asked if he had written a book lately. Nope. He won for his songwork throughout the decades. Interesting choice. I will readily admit that I haven’t read a book this year. Yes, I am ashamed of this fact. All I can say is that life has conspired against me in terms of nurturing my love of reading. Anyway, despite my sorry state of reading, I am fairly sure there were some good books released the past few years. Then again, what do I know. I use Amazon to order toilet paper. Anyway, if we are to go with songwriters/musicians, I would like to put a bug in the Nobel Prize committee members.
This may seem like a strange statement coming from a Puerto Rican girl from the South Bronx but I stand by it 100%. I like Willie Nelson. I like Willie Nelson and can’t fathom that others would feel differently. Even though I grew up in the place where rap music was born, I grew up listening to a lot of Country Western Music. We were one of the few country western music listeners in our neighborhood. Let me take that back. In our neighborhood, we were the only ones. My mom loved that genre of music and wanted me to share in that love. It was not my favorite but I didn’t ever stop listening to it. I have an eclectic taste in music where I can listen to Beyonce one second and the next I am listening to the Pet Shop Boys and the next I’m listening to Shania Twain. Other than Polka music I like it all. But back to Willie.
I like Willie Nelson because he was a rebel. He is a country singer that was part of “outlaw country” genre. He wanted to push the boundaries of country music. And then at some point in life, he became an activist for the environment and then for marijuana. I honestly don’t care what his propositions have been or that he has favored. The guy just exudes a coolness in his dorkiness. I’m not the only one that loves Willie Nelson. In the 1990s he owed a lot of money to the IRS. A lot! How did he erase his debt? He released an album specifically to pay off that debt and the fans came through for him. It was his version of a Go Fund Me project before there was crowdsourcing. Here is a man born during the depression and he was way ahead of his time.
Like for many others, my favorite song of his is “On the Road Again” in which he notes “Just can’t wait to get on the road again. … Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway. … Insisting that the world keep turning our way.” There was a time in my life, when that song greatly resonated with me I was on the road for years traveling across this country. I have at this point spent a good amount of time in 49 out of 50 of our States. I’ve been in rural tiny towns and know random parts of the country. I wanted a break from that road life and switched jobs. Now I find myself humming On the Road Again wondering where my next trip should be. Some people are meant to travel the world and go to random cafes and stores. My mom always thought I had the gypsie spirit in me.
Just this past week, I saw a sign for a Willie Nelson concert in Los Angeles. I wanted to stop the car, run out and grab some tickets. Alas, I did not. The day had been long and had places to be already. But I have to remind myself, he is getting up there in age and I don’t want to miss out on having seen him perform. You can’t keep thinking you will do something tomorrow or next year. Life just doesn’t work that way anymore. My mother and I won tickets to the premiere of the movie Honeysuckle Rose that starred Willie Nelson. I was super, super young, I barely remember the movie other than knowing that we won tickets to it. But thereafter my mom could not stop talking about him. Then he sang a duet with Julio Iglesias called “to all the girls I loved before” and my mother never looked back in terms of her crush on him. This country rebel singer from Texas was a hit in my Puerto Rican South Bronx household. Go figure. And to honor my mother’s memory, I do have to find a way to one of his performances. I wonder if I an convince my eight year old to listen to his music?
Either way, my mom would be ecstatic if Willie Nelson were to ever get a nobel prize.