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Willie Nelson To Explore The Stories Behind 160 Songs In New Book ‘Energy Follows Thought’

16 May 2023 | 3:22 pm | Ellie Robinson

The book will also feature “a dynamic assortment of never-before-seen photos and ephemera”.

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Willie Nelson has announced his latest foray into the world of literature, with a new book titled Energy Follows Thought exploring the stories behind 160 songs in his sprawling catalogue.

Co-written with David Ritz and Mickey Raphael – the former of whom also worked with Nelson on his last two books, It’s A Long Story: My Life (2015) and Pretty Paper (2016) – the new anthology will be published by HarperCollins, and is due to hit shelves on October 31. Pre-orders for the book are live now – see here for more info.

According to Rolling Stone, Energy Follows Thought: The Stories Behind My Songs will address every corner of Nelson’s ongoing, seven-decade tenure in country music, unpacking early hits, deep cuts, and even some of the more conceptual offerings he’s shared over the years.

Beyond the songs, Nelson is said to share a litany of other stories in the book, detailing his prized guitar Trigger, his family and colleagues, and his long list of iconic collaborators (Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard and Ray Charles are all name-dropped in the book’s official synopsis). Additionally, the book will feature “a dynamic assortment of never-before-seen photos and ephemera”.

So reads the publisher’s rundown of Energy Follows Thought: “Willie is disarmingly honest – what do you have to lose when you’re about to turn 90? – meditating on the nature of songwriting and finding his voice, and the themes he’s explored his whole life – relationships, infidelity, love, loss, friendship, life on the road, and particularly poignant at this juncture of his life: mortality. Revealing, funny, whimsical, and wise, this book is an enduring tribute to Willie Nelson's legacy.”

Nelson turned 90 just last month, celebrating with a two-day party hosting the likes of Snoop Dogg, Norah Jones and Chris Stapleton. He and Snoop go way back, too, bonding over their love of the Devil’s lettuce (with Nelson even out-smoking him on one occasion).

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The milestone was followed with the news that Nelson would finally be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. That ceremony will go down in November, when he’ll join the likes of Kate Bush, Rage Against The Machine and Sheryl Crow as new additions to the famed roster.

Earlier in the year, Nelson won two awards at the 2023 Grammys – ‘Best Country Album’ for A Beautiful Time and ‘Best Country Solo Performance’ for Live Forever – and was also nominated for ‘Best Country Song’ with I’ll Love You Till The Day I Die. An accolade just as special came last month, too, when Nelson was celebrated in a new Little Golden Book.