Some of the biggest names in country music came to Nashville's Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday night for The Life & Songs of Kris Kristofferson.
Kristofferson is considered one of the great songwriters to come out of Nashville but, before even hitting the music business, he had been a Rhodes Scholar, a Golden Gloves Boxer and a helicopter pilot in the military. In 1965, he decided to pursue songwriting and, although it took five years to become a success, he broke into the business with four almost simultaneous hits, Sunday Morning Coming Down (Johnny Cash), Help Me Make It Through the Night (Sammi Smith), For the Good Times (Ray Price) and Me and Bobby McGee (Janis Joplin).
Kris also went on to be a successful recording artist even though his singing voice sometimes resembled a deep croaking sound. He has released 23 studio albums, including three with ex-wife Rita Coolidge, and had hits with Lovin' Her Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again) (1971 / #26) and Why Me (1973 / #16 / #1 Country). The latter was a record breaker for the length of time it spent on the Billboard Hot 100 and, even though it never got higher than 16, was named the number 2 record of the year.
On Wednesday night, Willie Nelson, Reba McEntire, Allison Krauss, Hank Williams, Jr., Rosanne Cash, Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, Darius Rucker and Martina McBride were joined by a host of more modern country artists to salute the music of Kristofferson. Kris, himself, occasionally joined the artists on stage to play along.
The set list:
- Kristofferson - Jessi Alexander, Jon Randall and Larry Gatlin
- Jesus Was A Capricorn - Jack Ingram
- Please Don’t Tell Me How The Story Ends - Buddy Miller
- Here Comes That Rainbow Again - Martina McBride
- The Taker - Ryan Bingham
- Nobody Wins - Lee Ann Womack
- Worth Fighting For - Jennifer Nettles
- Lovin’ Her Was Easier (Than Anything I’ll Ever Do Again) - Rosanne Cash
- Chase The Feeling - Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell
- The Pilgrim, Chapter 33 - Emmylou Harris (featuring Kristofferson)
- Bottle To The Bottom - Dierks Bentley and the Travelin’ McCourys
- Help Me Make It Through The Night - Lady Antebellum
- Under The Gun - Darius Rucker
- For The Good Times - Alison Krauss and Jamey Johnson
- Casey’s Last Ride - Alison Krauss
- If You Don’t Like Hank Williams - Hank Williams, Jr.
- To Beat The Devil - Eric Church
- Me and Bobby McGee - Reba
- Living Legend - Willie Nelson
- Sunday Morning Comin’ Down - Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson
- The Highwaymen - Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Shooter Jennings, and Jamey Johnson
- Why Me Lord - All