Willie Nelson will play Merrill

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 PORTLAND — Portland Ovations will bring country music legend Willie Nelson back to Portland on Aug. 11 for an intimate summer concert at Merrill Auditorium.

Tickets, ranging from $45 to $65, will go on sale Monday, May 10.

Winner of numerous Grammy, Academy of Country Music and American Music Awards, Nelson has worked as a singer-songwriter since the 1950s. He started out writing some of country music’s biggest hits like “Pretty Paper” for Roy Orbison and “Crazy” for Patsy Cline. In 1973, he released “Shotgun Willie” on Atlantic Records to much acclaim; and by 1975, he was No. 1 on the charts with a cover of “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” from his third album, “Red Headed Stranger.”

Ever since, Nelson, now 77, has collaborated with other country legends as well as artists in other genres. He has also had a considerable acting career, playing both fictional roles and cameos.

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“Just when we thought we were wrapping up our programming for our 2010-11 season, we had this opportunity we just couldn’t pass up,” said Portland Ovations Executive Director Aimee Petrin. “Ovations is a fan of Willie, the people of Portland are big fans of Willie and we just had to bring him back.”

Nelson has been part of Ovations’ seasons multiple times; his last concert was in 2001.

The August concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets may be obtained at PortTix, the Merrill Auditorium box office; by calling 842-0800; and online at www.portlandovations.org.

Ovations’ 2010-11 season, scheduled to begin on Sept. 29 with Liza Minnelli, will offer artists in music, dance and theater, including Broadway national tours.

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