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How the fall and rise of Willie Nelson conduces to salubrious reflections on the fickleness of fate

Willie Who?




Did you know that Willie Nelson failed to make a living at music in the '60s and even decided to retire from music altogether by the early '70s for his want of success in the field? I kid you not. Willie Nelson was once only a legend in his own mind, if that. (Mercy on us!) There's got to be a moral in that story for struggling artists like ourselves. Don't you think? Here, have a coffee whilst I dilate at full on the consolatory reflections implicit in this biographical bombshell. (One lump or two, dawg? As in woof!)

What saved the Red Headed Stranger, musically speaking, was that he happened to move to Austin during his "retirement," at which point he soon discovered that Texas fans couldn't get enough of him. He must have been dumbfounded at the wholesale change in the way in which he was being perceived by the crowd. He must have been like, "Really? Are you guys SURE about these standing ovations, because to be honest with you, back home, the only time they stood up was when they were fixin' to leave the tawdry bar that I was playing in. You might wish to reconsider this unwonted admiration. I don't know, uh... maybe you're making some kind of mistake or other?"

It might even have crossed his mind that this was all a cruel hoax being played by these new so-called "fans" of his, and that at some point one of them was surely going to come clean and shout: "Willie, we love you! NOT!!!!" At which point, the rest of the crowd would purse their vindictive lips to send spluttering raspberries in the direction of the publicly pranked songster.

But no, the fans were like, "No, Willie, stop looking behind you, dawg, we are clapping for YOU, my good sir! You!"

And Willie's like: "Danged, so I'm a country icon then, am I? Who knew? Clearly not the tone-deaf louts who haunted the lion's share of my former venues!"

Now, as for the consolatory reflections that arise from the sober contemplation of this fraught biography -- especially in the minds of frustrated musicians like ourselves -- what can I say? It's clear that a musician's failure in the world is sometimes (why mince words?) the fault of the audience. (Yes, I'm talking to you, you despotic event attendees and frequenters of tawdry bars! Humph! No one died and made you sole arbiter of talent!) Just imagine the dimwits that pooh-poohed the original musical assays of the Red Headed Stranger. So much for the wisdom of the crowd. Willie Nelson shows us that they can be wrong -- in spades!

Comforting, n'est-pas, from the point of view of musicians like ourselves whose talent has yet to be comprehended, let alone sufficiently appreciated by the mob. Just remember Willie.

Meanwhile, a word of advice to the rare well-wishers in our otherwise indifferent audiences:

Don't just tell us that our time will come, but tell us rather that our crowd will come as well! Fair enough? (I thought so.)

Now then, more coffee, fellow struggler? No? How about another lump, dawg? (Yes? No? Woof?)



Copyright 2017, Brian Quass quass@quass.com (follow on Twitter)