Nelson, Willie Hugh

Written by Linda Kirkpatrick on .


Willie Nelson

(1933 - )

Willie Nelson is an American country music singer-songwriter, as well as an author, poet, actor, and activist. He is one of the most recognized artists in country music and is considered an American icon.

He has written more than 2,500 songs and released nearly 300 albums during his career that has spanned five decades.  Nelson has acted in more than 30 films, co-authored several books, and has been an activist for the use of biofuels and the legalization of marijuana.

He and his family (third wife, Connie) moved to Evergreen in 1977, at the height of his popularity, wanting to live a more normal life than what was possible in Texas.

They maintained a home on Upper Bear Creek Road situated on 116 acres on the south side of the road just before TallGrass Spa.  The property was identifiable by the teepee in front; and when he was around, you could see his touring bus parked along the road.  His children attended Clear Creek schools.

Because of spending so much time on tour, he had little time in Colorado but found the area inspirational for song writing. He disliked the snow, opting to spend his precious free time in warmer climates such as Austin, TX; Malibu, CA; and Maui, HI, when touring allowed.

During the early ‘80s, he was fond of playing The Little Bear, stopping in unannounced on numerous occasions and playing with whatever band might be on stage. He was never a booked entertainer at the Bear.  His daughter, Paula, plays occasionally at the Bear with The Paula Nelson Band.

In 1990, Nelson's assets were seized by the Internal Revenue Service in a claim that he owed $32 million in back taxes, a figure first negotiated down to $16.7 million and later to around $6 million. Among the assets seized were his home on Upper Bear Creek Road. During the liquidation process, the house was razed and the land sold for development. With his typical sense of humor, he released an album entitled The IRS Tapes: Who’ll Buy My Memories to help pay his debt to the IRS.

“I wrote a lot of songs while I was living in Colorado, had a lot of fun, did a lot of nice things that you can only do in Colorado. It affected me in a lot of ways. I sure hated to leave, I know that.”

One time while planning a tour in Colorado Willie Nelson said, “I miss Colorado. April is so nice up there, warm sunny days, blue skies, snow on the mountains. I look forward to playing the Bear in Evergreen, Tulagi’s in Boulder, and the Fillmore in Denver, places I haven’t been to for a while. I play so much in Texas, I just thought I’d spend a month in Colorado with some fans there.”

His honors include induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1993, the Kennedy Center Honors in 1998, and induction into the National Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2011 for his support of Farm Aid and other fundraising activities to benefit farmers.

Source: Wikipedia and a variety of sites on the Internet