Last night, Willie Nelson was honored with the Library Of Congress’ Gershwin Prize at a gala in Washington, DC. He’s the first country singer to receive the award since its inception in 2007. During the concert portion of the ceremony — which also included performances from Neil Young, Paul Simon, and Leon Bridges — Nelson performed a rendition of his 1986 song “Living In the Promised Land” for the first time since 2004. Before playing the track, he commented on the Syrian refugee debate that’s currently ongoing: “I think this is one of the most appropriate songs that we could do for this period in America. Many years ago, I recorded this song and I felt like this might be a good time to kind of try to bring it back.” Watch below.
During the ceremony, Nelson also mentioned that he had recorded an entire cover album of George and Ira Gershwin songs, which will be released on 1/15 to coincide with the PBS airing of the Gershwin Prize ceremony.
In a Washington Post interview prior to receiving the award, Nelson disclosed that he had to have an experimental stem-cell operation to help his lungs.