Willie Nelson Style Icon

www.NYTimes.com
by: Steven Kurutz

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The Texas troubadour, who is having a moment at age 90, found success only after he decided to be fully himself, in his music and his look.

“Roll me up and smoke me when I die,” Willie Nelson sang from the stage of the Hollywood Bowl during his 90th birthday celebration in April.

As usual, Mr. Nelson looked very much at ease. He was wearing a cowboy hat over a red bandanna, and his hair spilled down his back. His trusty guitar, a road-worn classical acoustic model named Trigger, hung from the red, white and blue strap around his neck. At his side was his longtime friend, the equally relaxed Snoop Dogg.


The duet with Snoop was one of many high points for Mr. Nelson in 2023, when fans and colleagues expressed their appreciation for one of the great survivors of American cultural life. In February, he won the Grammy for best country album. Two months later, he was joined by Beck, Rosanne Cash, the Chicks, Gary Clark Jr., Sheryl Crow, Keith Richards and other artists for the two-night Hollywood Bowl concert.

In November, shortly after his latest book, “Energy Follows Thought: The Stories Behind My Songs,” appeared in indie bookstores and Wal-Marts alike, Mr. Nelson was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. This month, CBS broadcast the Hollywood Bowl concert; and a four-part documentary retrospective, “Willie Nelson & Family,” started streaming on Paramount+.

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