George Strait Debuts New Willie Nelson Tribute Song “Sing One With Willie”

It’s both weird that fellow Texans and country legends Willie Nelson and George Strait have never collaborated together or even performed side by side in their illustrious careers, and yet it also makes perfect sense. Where Willie has always been the cowboy hippie, walking around in Indian braids with a bandana, and smelling like Thai stick, George Strait is straight laced as they come, with his Wrangler jeans and shirt expertly starched, and not an inch of crookedness in the lay of his Stetson.

But it was bound to happen eventually that the two would sing together, and the occasion of this weekend’s big Willie Nelson tribute show in Nashville at the Bridgestone Arena (1-12) sponsored by Blackbird Presents made for the perfect excuse. The two took the stage together near the end of the 4-hour presentation to sing a new song they co-wrote together, along with George’s son Bubba Strait, and producer Buddy Cannon contributing. Called “Sing One With Willie,” it will be on George Strait’s new album Honky Tonk Time Machine, and made for the perfect night cap to the tribute show.

I’ve had a wonderful career, but I think it’s quite clear
So I’m writing this down in a song…

…George Strait started out, with an All-Star band behind the duo, including Jamey Johnson on guitar, and Amanda Shires on fiddle. The chorus goes…

I ain’t never got to sing one with Willie
And I’ve held it inside long enough
Now I ain’t too proud, so I’m going to shout it out loud
I ain’t never got to sing one with Willie

Later Willie sings an answer verse (see video below). Some of the lyrics are hard to make out, but we’ll get to hear the studio version once Honky Tonk Time Machine sees the light of day. The entire Willie Nelson tribute was also taped for future airing on A&E some time later this year. After “Sing One With Willie,” George Strait and Willie also sang “Good Hearted Woman” together.

Also performing on the night were Chris Stapleton, Lee Ann Womack, Margo Price, Sturgill Simpson, Ray Benson, The Avett Brothers, Eric Church, and others. You can see the full set list below.

Willie: Life & Songs of an American Outlaw Setlist:

“Whiskey River,” Chris Stapleton
“Three Days,” Lee Ann Womack
“Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,” Margo Price & Bobby Bare
“Sister’s Coming Home,” Steve Earle & Margo Price
“I Thought About You, Lord/Just As I Am/Time of the Preacher/Bandera/Hands on the Wheel,” Micah & Lukas Nelson
“Milk Cow Blues,” Jason Isbell
“A Song for You,” Nathaniel Rateliff
“My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys,” Lyle Lovett
“Shotgun Willie,” Lyle Lovett & Ray Benson
“Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground,” Alison Krauss
“Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” Vince Gill
“Georgia on My Mind,” Jamey Johnson
“Somebody Pick Up My Pieces,” Susan Tedeschi & Derek Trucks
“City of New Orleans,” Willie Nelson with Tedeschi/Trucks
“Bloody Mary Morning,” The Avett Brothers
“Willie Got There First,” The Avett Brothers
“Remember Me,” Norah Jones and the Little Willies
“I Gotta Get Drunk,” Norah Jones and the Little Willies
“Willie Got Me Stoned,” Jack Johnson
“Red Headed Rounder,” Sturgill Simpson
“Me and Paul,” Eric Church
“Night Life,” John Mellencamp
“Funny How Times Slips Away,” Dave Matthews
“Crazy,” Dave Matthews & Willie Nelson
“After the Fire Is Gone,” Sheryl Crow & Willie Nelson
“Pancho and Lefty,” Emmylou Harris & Willie Nelson
“Til’ I Gain Control Again,” Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, & Willie Nelson
“Me and Bobby McGee,” Kris Kristofferson, Eric Church, & Willie Nelson
“The Harder They Come,” Jimmy Buffett & Willie Nelson
“Always on My Mind,” Chris Stapleton, Derek Trucks, & Willie Nelson
“Song One With Willie,” George Strait & Willie Nelson
“Good Hearted Woman,” George Strait & Willie Nelson
“On the Road Again/May the Circle Be Unbroken/I’ll Fly Away,” with full cast
“Roll Me Up and Smoke Me,” with full cast