Texas singer-songwriter Willie Nelson was named today this year’s recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.
Librarian of Congress James Billington made the announcement, making Nelson the seventh winner of the award recognizing the lifetime achievements of a living artist.
“Willie Nelson is a musical explorer, redrawing the boundaries of country music throughout his career,” Billington said in a statement.
“A master communicator, the sincerity and universally appealing message of his lyrics place him in a category of his own while still remaining grounded in his country-music roots. His achievements as a songwriter and performer are legendary,” he said.
“He has helped make country music one of the most universally beloved forms of American artistic expression.”
In the same press release Nelson said simply, “It is an honor to be the next recipient of the Gershwin Prize. I appreciate it greatly.”
Wilson has made over 200 recordings, including such successful albums as “Shotgun Willie,” “Red Headed Stranger” and “Stardust.” He is well known as the songwriter of such staples as “Crazy,” “Hello Walls” and “Funny How Time Slips Away.”
Nelson will receive the prize in Washington, D.C., in November when he will be celebrated in a concert and other events.
The prize, created in 2007, is named for the legendary songwriting brothers George and Ira Gershwin.
The previous winners are Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, the songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and the late Hal David, Carole King and Billy Joel.