Willie Nelson sings after being presented with the 2015 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015 in Washington. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)

Willie Nelson sings after being presented with the 2015 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015 in Washington. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)

Kevin Wolf/AP

Willie Nelson made history this week when he became the first country music artist to receive the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song on Wednesday at the Library of congress in Washington, D.C. 

During the ceremony, he was flanked by a number of friends and fellow performers. If you weren't among them, there's still a chance to watch the star-studded tribute concert, when it airs on PBS on Jan. 15 at 8 p.m. CST.

Nelson may well be a notable name in country music -- that's how his camp puts it, anyway -- but those who worship from afar tend to see him as much, much more. That's one reason why this recognition feels so sweet: He joins a cabal of songwriters whose work defines as much as it documents the second half of the twentieth-century, past recipients Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Carole King and Billy Joel.

During the concert, fellow North Texans Leon Bridges and Edie Brickell -- both of whom are on fire lately -- as well as Rosanne Cash, Jamey Johnson, Neil Young, Paul Simon and others, including Nelson's son Lukas with his band Promise of the Real, pay "homage to Nelson's musical genius -- showcasing some of his most memorable songs." 

The seemingly unstoppable -- but, ever humble -- Bridges expressed disbelief about the opportunity to sing on the same stage as Willie Nelson, Paul Simon and Neil Young.

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