Buckwheat Zydeco is thrilled and honored to perform on “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 is taping on November 18, 2015 at the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., and it 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.
The broadcast will feature performances by Nelson, as well as Buckwheat Zydeco, 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, and past Gershwin Prize honoree Paul Simon — with Don Was as music director (program subject to change).
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 – and Buckwheat Zydeco also performed on that program, dueting with Lyle Lovett. It was then presented to 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.
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.
“Willie Nelson has redrawn the boundaries of country music throughout his storied career,” said David Mao, Acting Librarian of Congress. “The sincerity, longevity and diversity of his appeal perfectly reflect the spirit of the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Since the Library began presenting the prize, PBS has brought this celebration of creativity directly and more broadly to the American people. We’re pleased that people across the country will be able to join in the recognition of this great artist and songwriter.”
For more information about “Willie Nelson: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song,” visit www.pbs.org/Gershwin-Prize. An electronic press kit, including downloadable talent photos for promotional use, is available at www.pressroom.pbs.org. To follow “The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song” on Twitter, use hashtag #PBSgershwin.