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"Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die: Musings From the Road"

Willie Nelson’s latest road journal is just as poignant and direct as his songwriting

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Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die: Musings From the Road
by Willie Nelson with Kinky Friedman | William Morrow | 192 pages

Willie Nelson means a lot of things to a lot of people, and his latest book Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die, a combination autobiography and road journal, is largely narrated by exactly those folks. The iconic country star’s latest batch of stories mostly serve as introductions to the most pivotal people in his life – family, business partners and band members – who then take up the pen to offer personal dear-diary-style accounts of how Willie has affected them. At its best, it’s full of detailed gems that recount specific (usually hilarious) incidents during Willie’s lifelong road trip, and at its weakest, it’s a series of personalized greeting cards sent by the songwriter’s dearest friends (but at least they’re Hallmark-quality).

Interspersed with crass jokes (“If a frog had wings, it could get bird pussy!”) and indulgent-but-awesome photos (Willie smooching his horse, presumably called Music), it’s a quick read that does occasionally step out of his music world and into exciting other realms, like his childhood, Occupy Wall Street and the world domino championship he cleverly fixed. He also offers a predictable trick to quit cigarettes, unendingly lists his music heroes and even ruminates on the medicinal quality of his farts. You’ll have to pardon the admitted prodding to purchase his new music, because it’s rare that legends leave journals, and besides, Lefty Frizzell would remind us (if he could) that Willie’s always been successful by being clear that if we’ve got the money, he’s got the time.

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