Willie Nelson, Paul Simon, James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt and more took the stage Friday night at Austin’s Erwin Center for the Texas Strong: Harvey Can’t Mess with Texas benefit concert, hosted by Matthew McConaughey.
The 1983 blues song’s lyrics eerily forecasted Hurricane Harvey’s devastating aftermath on the Houston are. “There’s floodin’ down in Texas / All of the telephone lines are down,” Nelson and Raitt sang. “Flood water keep a-rollin’ / Man it’s about to drive poor me insane.”
The Texas Strong concert promised “exclusive performances and rare collaborations,” and the event delivered all night: Nelson also teamed with soul singer Leon Bridges to perform the country legend’s oft-covered classic “Funny How Time Slips Away.”
Paul Simon, who with his wife Edie Brickell previously donated $1 million to help recovery efforts of small towns in the Houston area, performed a pair of songs during the live-stream: Simon & Garfunkel’s “America” and, with Brickell, a cover of Ernest Tubb’s country anthem “Waltz Across Texas.”
The hourlong stream also featured James Taylor performing his “Country Road,”with Raitt also joining the singer for “You Can Close Your Eyes,” as well as performances by Lyle Lovett and sister duo Ha*Ash.
The concert concluded with Nelson leading an all-star rendition of “On the Road Again.” All proceeds from the Texas Strong concert benefitted Rebuild Texas.