Willie Nelson gathered with close friends and fellow musicians to celebrate his upcoming 80th birthday at a taping of CMT CROSSROADS: WILLIE NELSON & FRIENDS FROM THIRD MAN RECORDS in Nashville last week. The unforgettable episode is slated to air in late June on CMT, and will honor the superstar’s milestone birthday as he swaps lyrics on some of his most-loved songs with Sheryl Crow, Jamey Johnson, Norah Jones, Ashley Monroe, Leon Russell and Neil Young. A long-time admirer of Nelson, Jack White hosted the special from his Nashville-based studio, Third Man Records. Country music icon Nelson turns 80 on April 29, and released his latest Legacy Recordings album Let’s Face The Music And Dance on Tuesday, April 16.
With a six-decade career, Nelson has a catalog of more than 200 albums to his credit and is a seven-time Grammy winner. The Texas singer-songwriter earned a permanent position in pop music’s pantheon with songs that combine the sophistication of Tin Pan Alley with the rough-and-tumble grit and emotional honesty of country music. He brought pop and country together on the radio in the early 1960s with unforgettable songs like “Crazy” (Patsy Cline), “Hello Walls” (Faron Young) and others, and by the mid-1970s had become a superstar in his own right as a prime mover of a revolutionary and thriving outlaw country music scene. Nelson’s first album for Columbia Records in 1975, The Red Headed Stranger, catapulted him to stardom around the world. 2013 is shaping up as a banner year for Nelson as his memoir “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die – Musings From the Road,” published last year, recently made the New York Times’ best-seller list.
CMT CROSSROADS is produced by Tom Forrest and Kathryn Russ. John Hamlin, Margaret Comeaux and Bill Flanagan serve as executive producers for CMT. British director Sophie Muller – whose resume includes work with The Killers, Annie Lennox, No Doubt and the Eurhythmics to name a few – served as director of the special CMT CROSSROADS: WILLIE NELSON & FRIENDS FROM THIRD MAN RECORDS.