At his annual 4th of July Picnic near Austin earlier this summer, Willie Nelson welcomed Texas Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke onstage to join him on guitar for set-closing renditions of “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die” and “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.” There’s a good chance that the country icon and galvanizing Democratic politician will re-create the moment later this month when Nelson headlines a concert and rally for O’Rourke in Austin.
While Nelson has performed for politicians in the past — most famously for President Jimmy Carter on the South Lawn of the White House on September 13th, 1980 — the O’Rourke rally will mark his first-ever public performance on behalf of a political candidate. The concert, featuring guests Joe Ely, Carrie Rodriguez, Tameca Jones, and Nelson’s sons Lukas Nelson and Micah Nelson, is set for September 29th at Auditorium Shores.
The 45-year-old O’Rourke, who once performed in the punk band Foss with At the Drive-In’s Cedric Bixler-Zavala, has drawn comparisons to Barack Obama for his grassroots campaign and candid, energetic town halls. In July, he completed a 34-day road trip across Texas, visiting all 254 counties of the state. Current polls put him only four points behind Republican incumbent Ted Cruz.
Also, for those of you on the West Coast and Mountain Time, don’t forget to check out Beto on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: