By Richard Skanse

(LSM May/June 2013/vol. 6 – Issue 3)

In case you somehow missed the news, the unstoppable Willie Nelson turned 80 years old on April 30.  For weeks leading up to the big day, folks both famous and non-famous from around the world sent him birthday wishes, while a few thousand of his biggest fans got to tell him in person at an April 28 concert at Austin’s Backyard, which Nelson turned into a benefit for the explosion-torn town of West, Texas. And chances are, there will still be people wishing him happy birthday from the crowd when he takes the stage for his 40th annual Fourth of July Picnic in the Fort Worth Stockyards. This year’s lineup also includes Gary Allan, the Randy Rogers Band, Ryan Bingham, Kris Kristofferson, Justin Moore, Leon Russell, Billy Joe Shaver, David Allan Coe, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Lukas Nelson, Paula Nelson, Ray Price, Folk Uke and Amber Digby. Tickets to the all-day affair are $35 in advance and $55 at the gate. For more information, visit