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Willie Nelson Returns to Stage for Fourth of July Picnic

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The nonagenarian Red Headed Stranger missed a few dates of the Outlaw Music Festival, per doctor’s orders, but he recovered well enough for an appearance in Camden, New Jersey

After missing half a dozen or so concerts of the Outlaw Music Fest due to unspecified illness, Willie Nelson returned to the stage for his annual Fourth of July Picnic, held outside of Philly in Camden, New Jersey, on Thursday. Nelson was greeted with roaring cheers from the audience. The musician then took a seat on a stool to begin playing.

Nelson’s son, Lukas, has been filling in for Willie, singing his dad’s songs, on the Outlaw trek, which also features Bob Dylan, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, and others. Those artists also performed at the Fourth of July Picnic, as well as Celisse, Maren Morris, and Mavis Staples. The concert marked the first time in 14 years that Nelson has held his Independence Day picnic outside of the Lone Star State.


Late last month, Nelson’s social media reported that the country singer-songwriter was “not feeling well” and would have to miss a series of Outlaw dates “per doctor’s orders.” On Tuesday, the artist’s social media reported: “Willie Nelson is looking forward to seeing everyone in Camden on July 4.”

In May, the ever-prolific Nelson released his 75th album, The Border; it’s also his 14th full-length in the last decade. “[The title track] is one of the Red Headed Stranger’s most moving and cinematic latter-day recordings, a story-song in which the toll and complexity of the immigration issue stings you in the face as hard as desert sand,” Rolling Stone’s review stated.

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