He kicked off his portion of the "Willie: Life & Songs of an American Outlaw” tribute show in Nashville at Bridgestone Arena saying, "It's an honor to be here tonight, it's my first time ever playing INSIDE Bridgestone." Which was a nod to the time busked outside of BRidgestone Arena during the CMAs.

During the star studded event Sturgill Simpson performed “Red Headed Rounder,” an unreleased Merle Haggard song that was written about the man of the night, Willie Nelson.