Willie Nelson turns 85 today! Here’s a look back at some recent history (and beyond)

Willie Nelson turns 85 today, April 29, 2018. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2o17

Lately Willie Nelson has been celebrating his birthday in the most ideal way possible for one of the world’s greatest musical artists: By giving us new music.

Born Aug. 29, 1933, Willie released last year’s terrific “God’s Problem Child” on his birthday weekend. He did the same this year with “Last Man Standing,” which came out on Friday and included an entirely new batch of songs he wrote with producer Buddy Cannon.

READ MORE: Our review of “Last Man Standing”

Nelson, who performed at Whitewater Amphitheater in New Braunfels last weekend, next performs in Austin on another birthday: America’s. The legendary Willie Nelson Fourth of July Picnic returns to Circuit of the Americas for the fourth straight year in a couple of months.

Our Picnic expert Dave Thomas — he’s @williepicnic on Twitter, naturally — has compiled the best timeline of past Picnics likely to be found anywhere. Check it out:

Timeline: The definitive history of the Willie Nelson Fourth of July Picnic

Birthday wishes for Willie come from far and wide on the web every year. Still, we remain sentimentally attached to this one posted a few years back. It’s from Darcie Jane Fromholz, whose late father, Steven Fromholz, was a good friend of Nelson (and wrote Willie’s chart-topping hit “I’d Have to Be Crazy”). Here’s what she said in 2014: “Happy birthday, Willie- thank you for letting me drive a golf cart into a pond when I was nine. Love you!”

Want more to read on this celebrated day? Here’s a Willie wormhole for you — dozens of articles we’ve written about the Red-Headed Stranger in recent years:

More Willie Nelson stories on Austin360

And then there’s “The Year in Willie,” the annual wrap-ups we’ve been doing since 2014. Read last year’s version here, and check out the highlights in this video: