There aren’t many figures in Texas who are as beloved as Willie Nelson. The country music legend, who has his own massive statue in the state’s capitol in Austin, Texas, is 85 years old and still going strong; still playing a daunting schedule of shows and still releasing albums of new music. He’s also still keeping up with the political scene and in Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke, he’s found someone worthy of throwing his full support behind.
This weekend, Nelson headlined a massive outdoor rally for O’Rourke in Austin, attended by an estimated 55,000 people. Donning a “Beto For Senate 2018” Nelson took to the stage with his trusty Martin guitar “Trigger” and launched into beloved tracks like “On The Road Again,” “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,” and “Whiskey River,” before debuting a new song called “Vote ‘Em Out.”
The lyrics to the new song are pretty straightforward, and while they don’t specifically name-drop O’Rourke’s opponent, Ted Cruz, the message is clear. “If you don’t like who’s in there, vote ‘em out / That’s what election day is all about / When they are gone, we will sing and shout.”
Though his more conservative-leaning fans have decried Willie’s embrace of O’Rourke and even threatened to boycott him, the singer himself remains impressed by the candidate and stands by him. “My wife, Annie, and I have met and spoken with Beto, and we share his concern for the direction things are headed,” Nelson told Rolling Stone. “Beto embodies what is special about Texas, an energy and an integrity that is completely genuine.”