When the Nashville music community comes together to honor an icon like Kris Kristofferson, talent bursts at the seams to be part of the event. The Life & Songs of Kris Kristofferson featured more than 20 of country music’s finest artists performing songs that he has written over the past 50 years, while 79-year-old Kristofferson watched from the side of the stage with his wife, Lisa.
Actor W. Earl Brown hosted the event, sharing stories about Kristofferson’s life throughout the night. Other celebrities who shared their memories and accolades by video messages were the iconic singer/actress Barbra Streisand and actor Ethan Hawke. Nashville mayor Megan Barry also proclaimed March 16, 2016 as “Kris Kristofferson Day.”
Larry Gatlin, Jessi Alexander, and Jon Randall kicked off the concert with a performance of a song appropriately called “Kristofferson,” which also appears on Tim McGraw’s “Let It Go” album.
The rest of the show featured songs that Kristofferson has penned for himself and others, such as the legendary “Me and Bobby McGee,” performed this night by Reba McEntire.
Jennifer Nettles’ powerhouse vocals resonated throughout Bridgestone Arena with her rendition of “Worth Fighting For,” garnering the night’s first standing ovation.
Other memorable moments included Alison Krauss and Jamey Johnson, singing the classic hit “For the Good Times.” The duo’s sharp contrast in vocal traits made for a hauntingly poignant performance.
Darius Rucker kicked up the tempo with his take on “Under the Gun” and Dierks Bentley brought in the Travelin’ McCourys for a bluegrass rendition of “From the Bottle to the Bottom.”
And when you thought the night couldn’t get any better, Willie Nelson came on stage. Kristofferson joined him to perform the iconic “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down.” The duo is often remembered for being part of the Highwaymen, along with Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings. Waylon’s son Shooter, along with Jamey Johnson, joined Kristofferson and Nelson on stage to perform “Highwayman.”
The show concluded with all of the guest artists collaborating on one of Kristofferson’s biggest hits as an artist, “Why Me.”
Produced by Blackbird Events, the concert was recorded for future distribution. Stay tuned for more information about how you can watch it!
• Jessi Alexander, Jon Randall, Larry Gatlin: Kristofferson [recorded by Tim McGraw]
• Jack Ingram: Jesus Was a Capricorn
• Jessi Colter: The Captive
• Buddy Miller: Please Don’t Tell Me How the Story Ends
• Martina McBride: Here Comes That Rainbow Again
• Ryan Bingham: The Taker
• LeeAnn Womack: Nobody Wins
• Jennifer Nettles: Worth Fighting For
• Roseanne Cash: Loving Her Was Easier
• Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell: Chase the Feeling
• Emmylou Harris, Kris Kristofferson: The Pilgrim – Chapter 33
• Dierks Bentley, The Travelin’ McCourys: From the Bottle to the Bottom
• Lady Antebellum: Help Me Make it Through the Night
• Darius Rucker: Under the Gun
• Alison Krauss, Jamey Johnson: For the Good Times
• Alison Krauss: Casey’s Last Ride
• Hank Williams Jr.: If You Don’t Like Hank Williams
• Reba: Me and Bobby McGee
• Willie Nelson: Living Legend
• Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson: Sunday Morning Coming Down
• Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Shooter Jennings, Jamey Johnson: Highwayman
• ALL: Why Me