Willie Nelson got some help from an unlikely guest when Senate candidate and current Congressional representative Beto O’Rourke joined him on stage on Wednesday night. The El Paso Democrat, who is currently running to unseat Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz, joined Nelson and a number of other musicians for a run of three song during country music legend’s annual 4th of July Picnic in Austin.
Rep. O’Rourke has been a vocal supporter of marijuana legalization on the campaign trail, so it was a fitting surprise when the Congressman sat-in for back-to-back renditions of Nelson favorites “Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die” and “It’s All Going To Pot”. The politician, who was first elected to Congress in 2012, took up the acoustic guitar during his appearance, which wrapped up with take on “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” and “I’ll Fly Away”. Additionally, Rep. O’Rourke made a passionate speech in defense of immigrants and American values before the night’s fireworks display.
Other guests during the show included Margo Price as well as members of Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, The Head and The Heart, and Asleep At The Wheel (whose frontman, Ray Benson, sported a Beto O’Rourke shirt).
Rep. O’Rourke may be a politician by trade, but he’s no stranger to music. In the early 1990s, Rep. O’Rourke played guitar in a punk rock band called Foss that, notably, featured The Mars Volta/At The Drive-In frontman Cedric Bixler-Zavala on drums and vocals. “I wasn’t very good at it,” O’Rourke told the Washington Post in 2017.
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Willie Nelson, Beto O’Rourke, and Family
[Video: Beto O’Rourke’s Facebook page]
Beto’s speech / 4th of July fireworks
[H/T – Dallas Morning News]