Sorry Willie Nelson, But You Are Not Allowed to Die

willie-nelson

 

Dear Willie Nelson,

Pardon me for the interruption; I’m sure you have plenty of other things to do with your time than to peruse my inane little ramblings here on the internet. But you are my favorite country music artists of all time. There have been many other great music artists over the many decades of country music history, and arguably others that perhaps have accomplished slightly more in their careers by someone else’s particular estimation. But in my humble opinion, and from an admittedly biased perspective from having grown up on your music, you are the best.

We have lost many country music greats over the years, especially in the last couple, which has caused great pain among the country music population, and to my little country music world particularly. Merle was especially tough, and losing him in the same year as Guy Clark and Ralph Stanley was a son-of-a-bitch. But none of that would be as daunting as having to digest your unfathomable demise. In fact I feel dirty for even putting your name and the hint of a world without you in it in the same sentence. It feels like sacrilege.

So it is from this conclusion—and in admitted flaunting defiance of the laws of nature—that I have unilaterally decided, by the powers vested in me by nobody, and without the seal of any higher authority, that you, Willie Hugh Nelson, are not, under any circumstances, allowed to die. No wiggle room, no time for discussion. Period, end of story. I apologize for such a brash and implausible demand, but this is just the way it has to be.

Like many country music fans, I was not always 100% faithful to the country music genre my entire life. Though my country roots have always been there and been pure, like many Americans will do in their youth, I experimented with other genres. There was my classic rock phase, for example. But can you blame me when at the time Garth Brooks was all the rage, and flying suspended over stadiums? Is it my fault I went searching for greener pastures? Besides, a lot of that classic rock stuff was just as much country as the popular country stuff of the 90’s, and was way more country than the popular country of today.

I even dabbled in punk rock and jam bands and artists on the fringes of popular music like Tom Waits and Frank Zappa in early adulthood—you know, whatever I thought was cool at the time—resulting in dark periods in my knowledge base and discography of country. But you, Willie Nelson, were always there. Both in my heart, and in my ears. Even when country music wasn’t cool in my music world for whatever reason, you always were.

I know what I’m asking for is a profanity to the cycle of life. Some may even conclude that it’s impossible. But I can’t imagine a world without a Willie Nelson. As everything has become perilous and polarized in out time, you are the one thing that nearly everybody can agree upon. You are like the Mother Teresa of music. Even people who despise country music see Willie Nelson as a beacon of light in the world, as a guidepost of infinite wisdom, and as an irreplaceable soul on this mortal coil. For decades now, music has simply been the excuse to pay attention to what a gift it is to have Willie Nelson inhabit planet Earth.

Yet inexplicably your musical output has not suffered at all with advancing age and the unavoidable and irreversible loss of faculties that come with it. In fact it has only enhanced you wisdom, broadened your appeal, and instilled your music with an instant gratification and infinite fulfillment simply from hearing the immediately identifiable timbre of your voice, and the timeless plucks of your guitar, Trigger, while your past music only grows better with age.

I have no reason to ask any favor of you, sir. In fact if anything, I am infinitely indebted to you for all the joy your music has brought me in my life, all the tough times it has seen me through, and all the positivity, wisdom, and joy it has spread throughout the world. Yet here I am, selfishly requesting you work another miracle.

Because I don’t want to fathom a world without Willie Nelson.