Willie Nelson turns 80, appears entirely unaware of his age

Last week, country music -- indeed, the world of music overall -- lost a giant in George Jones, who died Friday morning in Nashville at the age of 81.

But Tuesday brings happier news: the 80th birthday of another one of country's kings, Willie Nelson.

Actually, Nelson (whose many duets include his and Jones' delightful take on "I Gotta Get Drunk") says he became an octagenerian on Monday, though hospital records reportedly list his birthdate as April 30.

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In any case, the man whose career stretches over a half-century -- as not only a singer and songwriter, but an actor, activist and income tax scofflaw -- is hardly easing up with age.

Earlier this month Nelson released a new studio album, "Let's Face the Music and Dance," with characteristically charming renditions of standards such as the title track and "Walkin' My Baby Back Home." It's his second disc in less than a year, following last May's "Heroes."

And, of course, Nelson is on the road (again). According to his website, he's scheduled to play a gig Tuesday night in Estero, Fla., just ahead of his appearance this weekend at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

In August he'll play two nights at the Hollywood Bowl with fellow Texas native Lyle Lovett, one of the countless artists Nelson has inspired.

Watch a video of Nelson performing "Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die" below, and be thankful that we haven't had to follow the song's instructions just yet.


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Follow Mikael Wood on Twitter: @mikaelwood


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