“Willie Nelson: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song,” a PBS music special honoring the singer-songwriter

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11 January 2016
The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song
Photo: Courtesy of Scott Henrichsen
"The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song"
Premieres Friday, January 15 at 9 p.m. ET on PBS
(Check local listings)
Willie Nelson Honored with Star-studded Performances from Neil Young,
Paul Simon, Rosanne Cash, Sheryl Crow, Raul Malo,
Alison Krauss and Many More
          Sharon Percy Rockefeller, president and CEO of WETA Washington, D.C., announced the broadcast plans for “Willie Nelson: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song,” a PBS music special honoring singer-songwriter Willie Nelson’s receipt of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. The event, taping on November 18, 2015 at the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., will feature performances by Nelson, as well as Edie Brickell, Leon Bridges, Rosanne Cash, Ana Gabriel, Jamey Johnson, Alison Krauss, Raul Malo of The Mavericks, Neil Young, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Buckwheat Zydeco and past Gershwin Prize honoree Paul Simon — with Don Was as music director (program subject to change). During the event, Nelson will be presented the Gershwin Prize by David Mao, Acting Librarian of Congress, and a delegation of Members of Congress. The program will premiere Friday, January 15, 2016 at 9 p.m. ET on PBS stations nationwide (check local listings), as part of PBS Arts. The program will also be broadcast at a later date via the American Forces Network to American service men and women and civilians at U.S. Department of Defense locations around the world.
          With a career that spans six decades, Nelson’s music pushes genre boundaries and his lyrics give voice to America’s heartland. He put his imprint forever on country music and introduced it to new audiences by expanding music’s avenues in the 1970s to create “outlaw country.” He has continually broadened his musical language, crossing into jazz, blues, folk, rock and Latin styles. A guitar virtuoso with a unique voice, Nelson is an artist whose work continues to inspire new musicians of diverse genres.

          The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song is named in honor of the legendary George and Ira Gershwin. This award recognizes the profound and positive effect of popular music on the world’s culture. The prize is given annually to a composer or performer whose lifetime contributions exemplify the standard of excellence associated with the Gershwins. The Gershwin Prize was first awarded to Paul Simon in May 2007, followed by Stevie Wonder in February 2009, Sir Paul McCartney in June 2010, the songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David in May 2012, Carole King in 2013, and Billy Joel in 2014.

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