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Willie Nelson will celebrate his 90th birthday at star-studded Hollywood Bowl shows

A country music singer performs onstage with an acoustic guitar
Willie Nelson performs in 2017.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
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In 2022, Willie Nelson, then 89 and not far removed from a near-fatal bout with COVID-19, told the New York Times’ Jody Rosen, “According to the doctors, singing is the best exercise for the lungs.”

This spring, the country-music legend will turn 90 and heed his doctors’ advice. On his birthday weekend, April 29 and 30, Nelson and a slew of his famous friends and admirers will convene at the Hollywood Bowl to celebrate his musical genius, longevity and herculean weed consumption (now strictly in edible form).

Among the many artists scheduled to perform in tribute to and alongside Nelson: Neil Young, Kacey Musgraves, Beck, Snoop Dogg, Chris Stapleton, Miranda Lambert, Bob Weir, Sheryl Crow, Allison Russell, the Chicks, Tyler Childers, Sturgill Simpson, Margo Price, Tom Jones and sons Lukas Nelson and Micah Nelson (under the name Particle Kid).

A new Nelson album, “I Don’t Know a Thing About Love: The Songs of Harlan Howard,” is set to be released on March 3. It will be his 73rd solo studio album.

Fans, politicians and even artists were complaining about Ticketmaster long before Taylor Swift filled stadiums. But experts say the anger may be misplaced.

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Inevitably, Nelson has been slowed some by age, and in this decade alone suffered the loss of his longtime drummer, Paul English, and sister, Bobbie, who played piano in his band. In July, he co-headlined the Palomino Festival at Brookside at the Rose Bowl, where The Times’ Mikael Wood raved, “Nelson’s singing was a marvel of musicianly instinct, with unexpected blue notes and little swerves of tempo that thoroughly blurred the lines among country, jazz and soul music; his guitar playing was even more of a thrill as he rattled up and down Trigger’s neck, using the instrument as much for percussion as for harmony.”

Ticket info for the birthday shows can be found at WillieNelson90.


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