My mind has a curious way of working.
Maybe you are like me (as it would give me comfort to know I am not alone in my oddities). Certain objects, entertainers (musicians, directors, and authors, for instance) and ideas come across my noggin and I become fixated. Obsessed even.
Ask my wife about it. My OCD-like obsessions drive her crazy. But, hey, it’s part of what makes me who I am, right? Down deep, it’s one reason she loves me. At least that’s what I tell myself.
Just last week, for example, I was fascinated by the the Rubik’s cube and the algorithms needed to solve it. Strange, I know. The week before, it was early nineties music, in particular the hip-hop genre. The week prior to that, it was Philip K. Dick novels. Go figure.
This week, I find myself intrigued by Willie Nelson. And let me tell you, my mind and ears are enjoying the ride.
The artistic brand of Willie Nelson is powerful.
Think about the 82 year-old outlaw troubadour for just a minute. Everything about the guy speaks of fearlessness and brand identification.
Take his guitar, Trigger, as an example. Willie has played this particular six-string for decades. He’s played it so much that it has a gaping hole from where his fingers and pick have tapped or scrapped against it. It is worn, and anything but pretty. A guitar nobody else would ever want. But to Willie, the worn down aesthetic “makes it sound better.”
Or his look. The long red hair, usually in braids, with a red bandana used as a headband to hold his locks in place. All that coupled with black attire and a woven, red, white and blue guitar strap. Truly, the guy hasn’t changed his look in ages. It’s startling to see his first few album covers — Willie with short hair just doesn’t feel like Willie, does it?
And then there is the music. The clear, beautifully articulated voice, and the nylon strings of Trigger. Beautifully told narratives or covers of some of the greatest tunes of all. The cannon of Willie is tender and moving. Nobody does it like him. Nobody.
I look to these few attributes of “Shotgun” (his nickname) and I see a market leader in action. Willie has left no stone unturned in developing his brand, a process Stealing Share knows a lot about. And whether he is “On the Road Again” or singing of “Yesterday’s Wine,” the man behind the perfect tune will always be the same, unchanging icon.