Farm Aid Highlights: Willie and Neil Collaborate, Jamey Johnson Welcomes Alison Krauss and More
The annual Farm Aid concert came to Bristow, VA’s Jiffy Lube Live on Saturday with a day full of music that included Farm Aid board members Neil Young, Willie Nelson, Dave Matthews and John Mellencamp as well as sets from Alabama Shakes, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, Sturgill Simpson, Jamey Johnson and others.
Among the highlights, early performances from the likes of Rateliff and the Night Sweats as well as Alabama Shakes, who stuck to their material for the most part as Rateliff and the band also worked in their staple cover of The Band’s “Shape I’m In” at the end of their set. Singer Alison Krauss joined country artist Jamey Johnson for a majority of his set, lending her voice to tunes like Waylon Jennings’ “I Ain’t the One” and “You Ask Me To” as well as Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land,” among others.
Matthews, along with collaborator Tim Reynolds, then hit the stage for a brief eight-song set that also included a snippet of Guthrie’s environmental anthem in Dave Matthews Band’s own “Don’t Drink the Water.” Matthews and Reynolds also offered up acoustic takes on a pair of newer DMB tunes, “Samurai Cop” and “Bismarck” as well as staples “Crash Into Me,” “Two Step” and an “Ants Marching” finale.
Sturgill Simpson also appeared later on in the evening, delivering eight tunes in total including a special cover of Willie Nelson’s “I’d Have to be Crazy,” which appears on Simpson’s debut effort High Top Mountain. Speaking of Nelson, the Farm Aid mainstay came out with Neil Young and Promise of the Real during their more laid back set for a take on “Are There Any More Real Cowboys?” before Young and the band plugged in for an extended “Rockin’ in the Free World” closer.
As he typically does, Nelson and his Family Band closed down the night, as Nelson paid homage to the late Merle Haggard with their collaboration “It’s All Going to Pot” as well as classics like “Always On My Mind” and “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys” and others. Watch Young and Nelson collaborate below.