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It's a Long Story

My Life
Narrated by: Christopher Ryan Grant
Length: 9 hrs and 33 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (2,515 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The definitive autobiography of Willie Nelson.

This is the unvarnished, complete story of Willie Nelson's life, told in his distinct voice and leaving no moment or experience unturned, from Texas and Nashville to Hawaii and his legendary bus.

Having recently turned 80, Nelson is ready to shine a light on all aspects of his life, including his drive to write music, the women in his life, his collaborations, and his biggest lows and highs - from his bankruptcy to the founding of Farm Aid.

An American icon who still tours the country and headlines music festivals, Willie Nelson and his music have found their way into the hearts and minds of fans the world over, winning 10 Grammys and receiving the Kennedy Center Honors. Now it's time to hear the last word about his life - from the man himself.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2015 Willie Nelson (P)2015 Hachette Audio

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Great doesn't do this justice

If there was ever a book that would inspire a person, a book that would make you feel that your life was a normal life, a good life, a respectable life, this is one of those kinds of books. The way in which Wille depicts himself as the man with flaws, the man who cares deeply for all those around him the man who recognizes his idiosyncrasies his adequacy's his strengths and his talents, inspires me to no end. This man embodies all that is human. The level
of kindness he brings to us all is simply remarkable. I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn about him and share in his life's journey.

80 of 81 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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An Enjoyable Listen

This book is like sitting on a porch, sipping lemonade, and listening to my pal Willie talk about the good and bad times.

I've read another Willie books (Check out "The Tao of Willie") and this was just as good. While there are other musician authored books out there, this was much easier to follow along. Even if your mind ventures off, which is very common with audiobooks, it won't be too hard to jump right back into the story.

Willie talks about his past relationships, early music career, childeren, pot, and stories of rowdy times with other country music legends. One topic that stuck out for me was his views on golf, which I'm awful at, but he made me feel better about being awful. The thing I like most about him is the sense of calm that ensues when listening to his views on life, love, and just getting by.

Also, I could relate much better than some other listeners out there b/c I live in Texas. So the places he refers to throughout the book are literally just down the road from me.

Overall: If you're a fan of Willie or just country music in general, this is worth giving a shot. Willie's views don't lean vastly right or left of the isle. It's pretty straight forward and he's not much of a bragger either.

The narrator sounded perfect, and was quite similar to Willie's voice.

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191 of 196 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Uplifting, Inspiring, Thought Provoking

Would you listen to It's a Long Story again? Why?

Yes...I found it inspiring.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Willie, of course

What about Christopher Ryan Grant’s performance did you like?

His overall tone and delivery were reminiscent of Willie's.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes and no. Like another reviewer, I found myself stopping to listen to songs as they were mentioned throughout the book. That made it more fun though.

Any additional comments?


Toward the beginning of his book, Willie says, “If you like it, tell somebody and if you don’t, don’t say a damn word.” Well...there was much to like, thus the ensuing many words. I write this to share my reflections and to endorse a really good read. I’ve been an Audible member buying multiple audio books a month for the last few years. It’s an addiction, but totally worth it if it’s a good listen. I depend on the reviews of others..because it’s a big letdown to spend money on a title and then discover it’s…”meh”...or worse. So now it’s my turn to contribute. This is my first review ever...and I’m pretty inspired, so it’ll likely be a little on the long side...but then again, that should be ok because…(lame pun intended), “It’s a Long Story.”

To start with, this book found its way to my Audible cart for several reasons, not the least of which was the fact that, like most of the population around my age, I’ve been a fan since I was a teenager in the early ‘70’s. At that time Willie suddenly appeared out of nowhere and delivered music that was loved by just about everybody...and after forty years, that sentiment seems to have remained true for not only my age group, but for subsequent generations as well. I wondered why, and I hoped his book would answer this question. I’m happy to report that it did...but not in any way I would have expected.

Not that I had any defined expectations other than the fact that I figured it would be good...almost all of the reviewers had rated it highly. If anything my thoughts were that the book would be reminiscent of his movie, “Honeysuckle Rose” which I vaguely remembered as being about a “Willie-like” character who had one big party on his tour bus. The party bus...I mean tour bus was definitely mentioned as well as many of his other colorful experiences, but that really didn’t seem to be the main focus. What came through over and again was a portrayal of a deeply spiritual man whose heartfelt goal is to share happiness through his music. I’m sure most would agree he’s pulled this one off. He’s shared much happiness over the years and with so many. When his name comes up in a group of people there are always positive reactions...no matter what age or background, there are always lots of smiles...good feelings and warm memories.

So...I wondered...what creates this magic? I believe a big part of it has to do with his stories. In the book, Willie talks about his songs as being little stories. He brings up the concept of stories often and, indeed, he is a masterful storyteller himself in both his songs and in his book. His words touch a chord in our hearts...likely because the tone of his writing is delivered in a way that resonates with a deeper part of us.

Maybe it’s because his words are sometimes old fashioned...creating richly textured visual images, yet always elegantly simple. For some reason, this has an almost magical way of touching the listener. To hear Willie sing one of his songs is to be reminded of something reassuringly familiar. There’s a core of calm that runs through his melodies and an authentic resonance in the words he shares. His sense of time and phrasing is flexible, and yet that may be one of the most compelling pieces to the puzzle of his effect on the listener. He seems to wander in and around the music as if it were a hologram with a maze he knows how to navigate, knowing when and where he can stretch a beat and insert a lyric...yet he doesn’t even do it the same way every time. He plays with the where he’ll decide to jump in...and besides creating interest, this sends the message that he’s not in a hurry...and that there’s plenty of time. Plenty of time to let life unfold at a slower pace...plenty of time to love and care about the people around you, and plenty of time to just flow along with a good story. We listen and calm down...enjoy the ride...and allow ourselves to be taken to a place far away from our everyday concerns. Simply put, his songs convey love and connection.

This underlying message unfolds at a relaxed pace. Through engaging stories Willie chronicles how his musical and spiritual growth often intertwined. This isn’t spelled out verbatim. The message is subtly woven throughout the telling of his life story, which is one of the many reasons it’s such a great book. There are clues about this along the way which allow the reader to gradually discover what inspired and motivated him to develop into such a unique singer and songwriter. He goes back to the beginning, starting with his childhood where he grew up in a small Texas town, surrounded by music and raised by grandparents who served up love and music as a part of everyday life. His early musical connections were also deeply rooted in his little church where he sang while his sister Bobbie played the piano.

His love of music grew and expanded with every experience, and early on, he made the decision he wanted a career in this area, which, at best had to have been an extraordinarily difficult path to pursue. At times when most would have become discouraged and thrown in the towel, he allowed his spiritual nature and expanded learning to lead him through. When Willie talked about a discouraging time when he was riding alone in a boxcar, he said, “...for hours on end, I meditated on love. I prayed that love would see me through.”

Well...that must have worked, because he did see his way through, and because of this, we as fans are the real winners. But love alone can only go so far, and then faith has to come along for the ride. This is where it gets really inspiring because he kept the faith in this area under some pretty terrible circumstances. One particularly low point was when he had no work, no money, and a young family who needed his support. He shares how some of his greatest songs came from what had to be one of the worst kinds of experiences...a time when he was living in the petro-chemical southeast side of Houston and driving around the ship channel area looking for work. As a native Texan, I can vouch for the fact that this has to be one of the most depressing areas known to man outside of a third world country. This alone would have sent most people running for the hills screaming, but his faith kept him going.

Wow! This has gotten really long...but don’t worry...these aren’t spoilers...just an enthusiastic review, but even a wordy review can’t come close to what the book offers. So count my vote in with the opinions of almost every other reviewer. This is a book to uplift and inspire. Enjoy!




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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Wow

Honestly I never really listened to Willie Nelson before and I picked up this book because of the title. I've always known who he was, my dad is a fan, but never did I truly know his story.

This audio book is like sitting on the back porch with your grandfather and listening to his unbelievable but true life. It was beautifully told and the accent gave me the comfort of home.

Willie is a remarkable man whose story is well worth listening too. He has had a life time worth telling full of riches, success, and determination and yet is still humble and down to earth. I would have finished this book sooner if I didn't stop every single chapter to listen to whatever song he had mentioned.

37 of 40 people found this review helpful

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Fun listen plus I learned a few things!

This book was a joy to listen to from start to finish. I didn't know all that much about Willie Nelson when I purchased this book but I knew he was an interesting character.
I would recommend this book to music fans young and old.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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Best Audiobook I've Listened To For A Long Time

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yers, because the story is so fantastic, and the narration is excellent.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Willie Nelson, of course.

What does Christopher Ryan Grant bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He reads it in a similar way to the way I imagine Willie would read it.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, very much so.

24 of 26 people found this review helpful

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A beautiful life!

The life of Willie Nelson is an important element of Americana and its folklore. Willie's thoughtful tale of his larger than life journey is not to be missed. He tells his story so well that you feel it is being personally read to you. The narration is outstanding.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Still pickin and kickin

There are so many rumors about this man you never know what is true and what is fabrication.
Take a listen hear the facts, and enjoy the matter of fact story telling. So sit back use your token and enjoy a warm rebelling of Willie Nelsons life
By s master story teller. And when you have finished the book you'll be glad you spent a little getting to know how this American Icon came to be.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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No Holds Barred

Having lived less than 100 miles from Nashville all my life, everyone in this part of Tennessee has gotten a front row sear to all the "goody-goody" BS that has come out of the country music scene, and the way all the pickers and singers had to conform, they still act like everyone is their best friend.Thank God Willie has come along and told his story in his way! He didn't have to throw dirt on anyone either. Loved this book cause it's about a man who made mistakes, owns up to them, and let's us see the real Willie Nelson, not someone conjured up by a Nashville mogul

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Willie, please read yourself!

This is really good but if Willie read this, I would have loved it! Next time, Willie needs to read this!

15 of 18 people found this review helpful