To celebrate his selection as recipient of the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, Willie Nelson will be honored by Rosanne Cash, Jamey Johnson, Alison Krauss, Paul Simon and Neil Young during a Wednesday night (Nov. 18) concert in Washington, D.C.
Presented by the Library of Congress, the award honors “musical artists whose lifetime contributions in the field of popular song exemplify the standard of excellence associated with George and Ira Gershwin by promoting the genre of song as a vehicle of cultural understanding, entertaining and informing audiences and inspiring new generations.”
Nelson is the first country artist to receive the Gershwin Prize. Previous recipients include Simon, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Carole King, Billy Joel and the songwriting duo of Burt Bacharach and the late Hal David.
“It is a great honor to be receiving the Gershwin award,” Nelson said during a presentation in Washington. “I have been a fan of Ira and George Gershwin’s music since I was a little guy. In appreciation for the award — and also I wanted to make some great music — I’ve just recorded a complete Gershwin album. It’s called Summertime.”
Hosted by actor Don Johnson, Wednesday’s concert DAR Constitution Hall will also feature performances by Nelson, Edie Brickell, Leon Bridges, Ana Gabriel, Cyndi Lauper, Raul Malo of the Mavericks, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real and Buckwheat Zydeco.
The concert will air on PBS stations on Jan. 15.