Belfast Telegraph

Willie Nelson honoured with prestigious Gershwin

Willie Nelson will receive the renowned Gershwin Prize, an honour issued by the Library of Congress which recognises artists who inspire future generations.

The 82-year-old musician has been acknowledged with the prestigious award by the Library of Congress.

And Willie, who has been active in the entertainment industry since 1956, couldn’t be more proud to receive this distinction.

"It is an honour to be the next recipient of the Gershwin Prize. I appreciate it greatly," he wrote in a press release issued by EIN Newswire.

Willie is the first country music artist to receive the award, which was created by the Library of Congress in 2007. The Gershwin Prize for Popular Song was named after George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin, the brothers behind classic songs I Got Rhythm and Someone to Watch Over Me. The honour is bestowed on living musicians whose lifetime achievements promote “the genre of song as a vehicle of cultural understanding; entertaining and informing audiences; and inspiring new generations”, according to the press release.

"Willie Nelson is a musical explorer, redrawing the boundaries of country music throughout his career," Librarian of Congress James Billington noted. "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. Like America itself, he has absorbed and assimilated diverse stylistic influences into his stories and songs. He has helped make country music one of the most universally beloved forms of American artistic expression."

Past Gershwin Prize for Popular Song winners include Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Burt Bacharach, Hal David, Carole King and Billy Joel. Willie will receive his honour in Washington D.C. this November, where he’ll be the focal point of several celebrations in the city.

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