Willie Nelson Promises ‘There’s Room for Everyone’ in America [Watch]
Willie Nelson was honored in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday night (Nov. 18), and he took the opportunity to weigh in musically on one of the biggest social and political debates currently going on in America.
The 82-year-old musical icon received the Library of Congress' Gershwin Award for Popular Song on Wednesday, in recognition of his enormous contributions to popular music. Neil Young, Rosanne Cash, Alison Krauss, Paul Simon and more were on hand to pay tribute to the country legend, but it was his own performance of a song that has probably been forgotten by many fans that made perhaps the biggest statement of the evening. Joined onstage by his sons Lukas and Micah, Nelson offered up a deeply-felt rendition of "Living in the Promiseland," which scored him his 12th No. 1 hit in 1986.
Written by David Lynn Jones, the song was the lead single from Nelson's The Promiseland album. Its lyrics insist that the ideals that drive America are still the same as they have always been.
"Give us your tired and weak, and we will make them strong / Bring us your foreign songs, and we will sing along," Nelson begins, while the chorus of the song states, "The prayer of everyone is to know how freedom feels / There is a winding road across the shifting sand / And room for everyone, living in the promiseland."
The performance came at a time when various factions in the U.S. are once again debating over immigration policy, this time in response to the terrorist attacks in Paris last week. Republican 2016 presidential front runner Donald Trump said this week that he would make all Muslims in America register if he wins the White House, while various states are calling for legislation to roll back plans for Syrian refugees to be welcomed into the country.
“I think this is one of the most appropriate songs that we could do for this period in America,” Nelson told the crowd at Washington’s DAR Constitution Hall, which included a number of U.S. lawmakers (quote via PBS). “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 Nelson's performance in the video above.
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