Willie Nelson accepted the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song back in November. It's the highest honor available to American songwriters, so plenty of big-name acts were on hand in Washington for the ceremony. The crowd enjoyed takes on Willie classics from Neil Young, Paul Simon, Rosanne Cash and Alison Krauss, as well as D-FW luminaries Edie Brickell and Leon Bridges. Nelson himself took the stage as well.
Don't worry if you weren't there, though: The whole shebang will air (finally) this Friday, January 15, on PBS stations including KERA Channel 13. Set your DVR — these kinds of tribute shows usually bring out the best in performers, especially if they are given a songbook as rich as Nelson's with which to work.
But wait; Nelson's association with the Gershwin name won't be history after Friday's broadcast. His own songs may be the cause for the celebration, but he's also a world class interpreter of American standards. Ever heard the 1978 album, Stardust? If not, correct that now, and you'll be ready when Nelson releases his new Gershwin tribute album on Feb. 26.
The Red Headed Stranger will offer up his Buddy-Cannon-produced renditions of 11 George and Ira gems on Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin. We'll hear Willie's gorgeous warble on "But Not For Me," "Love Is Here to Stay" and "They Can't Take That Away From Me." He duets with Sheryl Crow on "Embraceable You" and Cyndi Lauper on "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off."
And then there's the title track for Summertime, of which Nelson shared a video earlier today. Watch it above and then move on to a throwback Gershwin pick from Stardust, "Someone to Watch Over Me," below.