Willie Nelson delivered a two-for-one performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Tuesday, paying tribute to one of the all-time vocal greats and offering up a humorous, no-nonsense political protest song.
Nelson opened his performance with a breezy, smooth “Fly Me to the Moon,” off his recent Frank Sinatra tribute album My Way, with Nelson’s band adopting a jazzy feel to match his unique phrasing. Nelson and harmonica player Mickey Raphael provided tasteful, melodic instrumental solos — to wild applause — to close the song.
At Kimmel’s request, Nelson stuck around to sing a second tune — the political number “Vote ‘Em Out.” “This song is only good like once ever in a while, but it’s a new one,” says Nelson, before strumming the opening chords. The crowd cheers in approval from the opening line, “If you don’t like who’s in there, vote ’em out,” clapping and whistling along with each of his quips about the importance of getting to the polls.
Nelson introduced “Vote ‘Em Out” while performing at a rally for U.S. Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke, who is vying to replace Texas Republican Ted Cruz in Washington, D.C. The country singer was recently announced as a special Grammy honoree, to be celebrated by the Recording Academy Producers and Engineers Wing on February 6th during Grammy Week.