Featuring sets from Paul Simon, Edie Brickell, Kurt Vile and Nelson himself, the virtual festival took place Thursday night.
UPDATED March 20 at 10:00 a.m.: This story has been updated to reflect that the concert is over.
Willie Nelson is obviously not on the road again. But he did stage a series of performances Thursday night with a little help from dozens of his friends, including Dallas’ Paul Cauthen and Edie Brickell, her husband Paul Simon, Lucinda Williams, Jewel, Margo Price and Nathaniel Rateliff.
The virtual concert, titled “‘Til Further Notice,” began at 6 p.m. on Facebook, Twitch and the website for “Luck Reunion,” the annual festival Nelson leads, which was canceled this year amid the coronavirus crisis.
“‘Til Further Notice” rose from the ashes of the festival, held every March near the Red Headed Stranger’s ranch in Luck, northwest of Austin. Some musicians performed at Austin’s Arlyn Studios, although most sang from their own living rooms and home studios. While some live-streamed their performances, others contributed pre-recorded videos of themselves playing.
The event was free, but fans were encouraged to donate to a “digital tip jar,” a Venmo account set up by the festival organizers. Tips were to be divided equally among all performers, with artists encouraged to donate proceeds to charities and other musicians, according to a statement.
Hosted by Asleep at the Wheel leader Ray Benson, the event also featured Nelson’s sons Lukas and Micah, country singer Randy Houser, the indie pop band Lucius, soul singer Devon Gilfillian, Austin alt-country rocker David Ramirez and others.
Nelson had been scheduled to open the Texas Rangers’ new Globe Life Field in Arlington on Saturday as part of a concert headlined by Chris Stapleton. Like so many shows, it was put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic. Promoters announced it’s been rescheduled for Nov. 21.
The 86-year-old singer has been busy lately, collecting his ninth Grammy award in January for the title track to last year’s album Ride Me Back Home. On July 3, he’ll release his 70th solo studio album, First Rose of Spring.