Keith Richards calls him a man of the soil. Others have called him Shaman. He has lived a life full enough for ten men and people want him to have big answers. He could be a red-neck cowboy, a Zen master or simply an old, stoned hippie. Of course, he is really all three, and several other things into the bargain...With a face that wouldn't look out of place carved into Mount Rushmore, Willie Nelson has done it and seen it all. A dope smoking , whisky drinking, latter-day cowboy with Native American blood, four wives and seven children, Nelson's career spans half a century of American music. In this revealing, intimate and insightful biography, Graeme Thomson goes beyond the myths, talking with Nelson himself, his band and those who know him best en route to discovering the real Willie Nelson. Nelson't life has been a never-ending journey of incredible highs and crashing lows. The armfuls of awards huge record sales, famous friends, and creation of Farm Aid and his annual Fourth of July picnis have been achieved in the shadow of his mother's early desertion, penury, three turbulent marriages, drug busts, drinking, bankruptcy, as well as his son's suicide.
The Outlaw brilliantly describes this complex, compelling man, whose life and music reveal and reflect something fundamental at the very heart of twentieth century America, explaining along the way why Willie Nelson is nothing short of a living legend.
Graeme Thomson is a freelance writer who has written for WORD, the Observer, Time Out, MOJO and the Herald. He also contributes to FourFourTwo and several other periodicals. Complicated Shadows, his biography of Elvis Costello, was published by Canongate Books in October 2004 to widespread acclaim. He lives in Edinburgh.