Country stars came together in Texas on Monday night to raise money for victims of recent wildfires that have devastated parts of the state. Willie Nelson, George Strait, Dixie Chicks, The Avett Brothers and Asleep At The Wheel were just some of the acts on hand for the concert in Austin which raised more than $500,000 was raised.
“When they called us to do this show, there was zero hesitation,” Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks told the Associated Press. “You can take the girl out of Texas, but you can’t take Texas out of the girl.”
Willie Nelson called the fires ‘tragic’ and knows firsthand how devastating they can be having lost homes to fire. “You never really get over it,” he said. “There’s nothing I can tell them to make it better except some of us have been there and done that and we survived it, and they will too. Be strong.”
Willie, joined by the Avett Brothers and backed by Asleep at the Wheel, entertained the crowd with his classic “On the Road Again” as well as “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.” Asleep at the Wheel’s Ray Benson helped booked artists for the concert. He said he rarely calls in favors but didn’t hesitate to do just that in support of the fire victims.
“This one was so compelling, I said `OK, let me call Willie and let me call Lyle (Lovett)’ and they both said yeah,” he said. “Willie actually cancelled a show to do it. Lyle also canceled an appearance. I just think the scope of devastation was so great and so close to home. The numbers in Bastrop were so overwhelming, how do you deal with something like that? And also you do feel… that we’re in a position to not sit on the sidelines and do something.”
Eleven acts were scheduled to perform. Actor Kyle Chandler from Friday Night Lights emceed the event, which was held at the Frank Erwin Center at the University of Texas at Austin campus.