Hoot used to say that it was impolite to ask a stranger where he was from. "Never do it," he said. "If he's from Texas, he'll tell you soon enough, and if he's not, there's no point in embarrassing him." Still, it's occurred to me that some of y'all reading here are probably Yankees—don't be embarrassed, everybody can't be from God's home-state—and as such, don't really know who Willie Nelson is. I mean, you have an idea, of course, but you basically think Willie's the guy who sings that piece-of-shit song To All the Girls I've Loved Before, and who butchers Pancho & Lefty. While you would be factually correct, you would be 180 degrees away from knowing the truth (it'd be like judging Elton John by any music he made after Madman Across the Water).
For the uninitiated—or the underinitiated—or the initiated who just love the fucking tunes—here is Willie's masterpiece: Red-Headed Stranger, from 1975. This was a great achievement in American music, among the best ever. Hear it, and know the real-deal genuine article Willie, and know too why he's so fucking important.
(And if you're not from Texas, take heart. The great Jerry Jeff Walker did not originate in Texas either, but he's by-God made up for it. There's a bumper-sticker you'll see time to time that attests that its exhibitor was not born in Texas, but got there as fast as she or he could. So, there's hope. Just don't move to Austin. San Antonio and San Marcos can certainly use your burgeoning Texas spirit, and both are plenty close to Austin to drive up and visit. But there's too damn many people in town now, so unless you can induce some of the more frightful transplants to replant themselves elsewhere (I think most Californians would be much happier in California, personally), just add your name to the waiting list. We'll let you know when your number is called, promise)