On March 16, 2016, musicians from the country and Americana worlds came together to pay tribute to Kris Kristofferson in an all-star concert celebration of his music. On Oct. 27, the rest of us will finally see the performances from that show, thanks to the live concert film The Life & Songs of Kris Kristofferson: All Star Concert Celebration.
Filmed at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, the one-night event featured interviews and performances by Lady Antebellum, Dierks Bentley, Ryan Bingham, Rosanne Cash, Eric Church, Jessi Colter, Rodney Crowell, Alison Krauss, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, Buddy Miller, Willie Nelson, Jennifer Nettles, Jon Randall, Darius Rucker, Hank Williams Jr., and Lee Ann Womack, as well as Kristofferson himself. They're all backed by the "All-Star Band," which includes Don Was, Greg Liesz, Mickey Raphael, the McCrary Sisters and more.
In this new video from The Life & Songs, Emmylou Harris sings alongside Kristofferson on "The Pilgrim, Chapter 33," a song Kristofferson wrote and recorded for his second studio album, The Silver Tongued Devil and I, released in 1971.
The lyrics to "The Pilgrim" could stand on their own as a beautiful poem. In the spoken introduction to Kristofferson's original recording of it, he says he wound up writing the song about Johnny Cash, Dennis Hopper, Donnie Fritts, Billy Swann, Bobby Neuwirth, Jerry Jeff Walker and Ramblin' Jack Elliott. The song has worn well over the years, via covers by Willie Nelson, Jerry Lee Lewis and others. Fans of Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver might remember the scene when Travis Bickle – played by Robert De Niro – meets Cybill Shepherd's character Betsy in a diner and she tells him he reminds her of the lyrics from the song, quoting: "He's a prophet, he's a pusher / Partly truth and partly fiction / A walking contradiction."