One of the many highlights of the Willie: Life & Songs of an American Outlaw concert was Sturgill Simpson's performance of "Red Headed Rounder," a tune written for and about Willie Nelson by none other than late country legend Merle Haggard. Before launching into the song, Simpson explained that "Red Headed Rounder" was one of the last songs Haggard recorded.
"It goes without saying it's an honor to be here tonight. This is my first time playing inside Bridgestone," Simpson told the crowd, referencing the time in 2017 he busked outside the arena during the CMA Awards. "We're gonna do a song tonight for you--this was written by Merle Haggard. This is the last song he ever recorded. He wrote (it) for and about Willie."
The song is celebration of Willie's spirit and what the Red Headed Stranger meant to Haggard.
"He sleeps all day, plays his cards all night/ Smokes marijuana 'cause it treats him right," Simpson sings. "Oh that red-headed rounder, he's a friend of mind/ That red-headed rounder has a good time all the time."
Willie: Life & Songs of an American Outlaw featured performances from Kris Kristofferson, Chris Stapleton, Lee Ann Womack, Lyle Lovett, Norah Jones, Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill, Margo Price, Emmylou Harris and more. The show also included the first time George Strait and Nelson shared the stage. The Texas icons performed the unreleased song "Sing One With Willie."
The concert will air on the A&E Network in 2019.