In the wake of Rosalynn Carter’s death on Nov. 19, many across the country have mourned the death of a beloved First Lady. Among those mourners is Willie Nelson, who shared a friendship with the couple for decades.
Several times, former President Jimmy Carter and his wife even joined Nelson onstage to perform songs with him. One such instance was in June of 2016, when Nelson and Kris Kristofferson were performing at Chastain Park Amphitheatre (now Cadence Bank Amphitheatre) in Atlanta.
In a video recently unearthed by Wide Open Country, the couple is shown unexpectedly coming on stage to sing “Amazing Grace” (one of Jimmy Carter’s favorite hymns) with Nelson and Kristofferson for the crowd of almost 7,000 people.
Watch the video below, which was posted to YouTube by user @jimgrambelize.
Jimmy Carter is one of the late 20th-century presidents credited with bringing a wider variety of music to the White House. In 1978, he even hosted the first White House jazz festival.
In fact, the Carters have had many famous musician friends, including Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood. The future president met the Allman Brothers when he supported anti-piracy legislation as governor of Georgia. That band went on to hold campaign concerts for him when he ran for President.
You may not think of the straight-edged Carters as likely friends for the free-wheeling Willie Nelson, but they actually had a lot in common. Carter pointed out that both he and Nelson had worked at blacksmithing, shoeing horses and picking cotton as teens.
“We both came from a small town,” Jimmy Carter said during 2004’s “CMT Homecoming: Jimmy Carter in Plains,” Rolling Stone reports. “Our beliefs are basically the same, although we have some differences. I’ve been a partisan Democrat, and Willie performs for everybody in the world — both Democrats and strange people like Republicans,” he joked.
The Carters have sung with Nelson a handful of times over the years. In 1980, for example, Carter invited Nelson to perform on the South Lawn of the White House. He and Rosalynn joined Nelson to sing “Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother.”
The pair also performed multiple times with Nelson when he came to Plains, their hometown in Georgia, starting in 1985. In 2004, the three sang “Amazing Grace” and “Georgia on My Mind” on stage for the taping of the CMT special in 2004. They reunited onstage in Atlanta, about 119 miles away, in 2012.
Nelson, who is 90 years old, is getting ready for his 2024 tour. Much like his friends the Carters, he’s not one to let old age slow him down.
Willie Nelson sings ‘Amazing Grace’ with Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter in 2016 video originally appeared on Simplemost.com, helping make the most out of life.