Saddle up for Willie Nelson’s Outlaw Music Festival

Willie Nelson. Photo: Business Wire/Associated Press.

Summer and Willie Nelson go together like swimming pools and barbecue — one without the other is just a little less enjoyable.

Although there was a brief pause owing to the pandemic, Nelson’s Outlaw Music Festival, which grew out of his legendary Fourth of July Picnics in Austin, Fort Worth and elsewhere, will return to North Texas, and Dos Equis Pavilion, July 2 for a day certain to be hot both figuratively and literally. We’ve pulled together a playlist below to either familiarize you with the stacked line-up scheduled to appear in Dallas, or just get you pumped up for showtime.

Tickets for the July 2 showcase are on sale now.

Willie Nelson & Family

At 89 years young, the man from Abbott is still kicking. The acclaimed singer-songwriter just dropped a new studio album, A Beautiful Time, on April 29. The record, his 72nd solo effort, features a lead single, “I’ll Love You Till the Day I Die,” written by Chris Stapleton and Rodney Crowell, as well as covers of the Beatles and Leonard Cohen.

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

Never let it be said Jason Isbell doesn’t put his money where his mouth is. His most recent album, Georgia Blue, dropped last fall, and was motivated less by artistic urges than political achievements. The 13 tracks he cut, with help from the 400 Unit and special guests, are all covers of Georgia artists, making good on a tweet stating he’d release just such an album if now-President Joe Biden won the state of Georgia.

Brothers Osborne

Bucking conventional wisdom has long been a tried-and-true tactic in Nashville, and the Brothers Osborne — John and T.J. — are the latest to forge their own path, regardless of what listeners might think. You can find ample evidence of that attitude all over the pair’s third album, 2020’s Skeletons, particularly on the lead single “I’m Not for Everyone.”

Charley Crockett

Dallas music scene followers are no strangers to the old-school charms of singer-songwriter Charley Crockett. He’s been a fixture in and around North Texas venues for nearly a decade, although he’s often relentlessly touring outside the state these days. His latest LP, Lil G.L. Presents: Jukebox Charley, dropped in April.

Steve Earle & the Dukes

For his latest studio album, Jerry Jeff, acclaimed singer-songwriter Steve Earle is paying tribute to a Texas music legend: Jerry Jeff Walker. The 10-track effort, now available digitally with a physical release set for late August, follows earlier Earle tributes to his influences Guy Clark (2019’s Guy) and Townes Van Zandt (2009’s Townes).

Allison Russell

Canadian singer-songwriter Allison Russell made a big splash with her debut solo album, Outside Child, upon its release last year. It’s not difficult to see why: Russell’s arresting sound encompasses country, soul, folk and blues, anchored by her expressive, soaring voice.

Particle Kid

You might think you know what music made by one of Willie Nelson’s offspring — in this case, his son, Micah — but Particle Kid just might upend your expectations (the Facebook description for this project’s style includes no less than 11 different descriptors). The latest release from Particle Kid, Time Capsule, is a sprawling, 27-track collection stretching nearly two hours.

Preston Jones is a North Texas freelance writer and regular contributor for KXT. Our work is made possible by our generous, music-loving members. If you like how we lift up local music, consider becoming a KXT sustaining member right here.