A&E celebrated the career of country performer Willie Nelson on last night’s (4/12) concert program, American Outlaw. Previously filmed at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena and emceed by actor Ed Helms, artist friends who joined the legend onstage included Jamey Johnson, Chris Stapleton, Sheryl Crow, Eric Church, The Avett Brothers, Jimmy Buffett, Vince Gill, and others. Additionally, celebrity friends and family members told their own memories about the outlaw singer, including Nelson’s sons Micah and Lukas Nelson.
One appearance, however, that made the telecast the most memorable was George Strait, who shared the stage with Nelson for the first time. Yes, you read that right. Texan country artists Willie Nelson and George Strait have never performed together, until this moment.
In one of the show’s interview segments, Strait jokingly said to the camera, “I told [Nelson], I was getting a complex [because] I was about the only one who had never sang with Willie before.” Nelson then told Strait to begin writing a song for the two to perform, but even “The King’” of country music got nervous with the thought of writing with Willie.
Strait continued, “I woke up one morning and decided to take a stab at it. I sent [the song] over to Willie, and I said, ‘Do you think that you might want to do this?’” The end result was Nelson adding in his lines to complete the tune, titled “Sing One With Willie.”
Following their debut performance, the legends continued by singing the classic, “Good Hearted Woman,” made famous by Nelson and the late Waylon Jennings.
Other highlights from the show included Jamey Johnson giving a stirring rendition of the hit, “Georgia On My Mind,”; Emmylou Harris and Nelson performing “Pancho and Lefty”; and Nelson with rock artist Dave Matthews on the timeless Willie-penned track, “Crazy.”
The tribute ended with Nelson and an all-star group singing his well-known hit, “On The Road Again.”