The two musical pioneers reunited on stage at Nashville's famed Bluebird Café, where Kristofferson, as the namesake of the new award, presented the first trophy to Nelson, noting of him, "He's unlike anybody else, because he is one of the best songwriters who ever wrote in any language. He's absolutely a unique singer who doesn't sound like anybody else ever ... He's probably the funniest human being I've ever known. Sometimes, I try to envision who God might be, and he always comes out looking like Willie." (quote via Nashville's Tennessean).
"I'm really proud to be giving you this," Kristofferson said to his friend of the first-ever Kris Kristofferson Award. "I'm embarrassed that my face and my name is on it."
The "On the Road Again" singer was quick to return the compliments. "First of all, you got popular in the coffee shops with all the young hippies back in those days, and that was hard to digest in a lot of parts of the country," he said. "But as they learned more and more about him, they realized that he's writing songs about us, 'Help Me Make It Through The Night.' It didn't take them long to realize that this guy was the real deal."
The two, who also took time to perform some of their most memorable hits, including Nelson's "Crazy" and "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down," penned by Kristofferson, lamented that their busy solo careers keep them from getting together as often as they would like.
"I never see anybody else," Kristofferson said. "But every time we get together, it's amazing."
Both iconic performers will share new music with fans this year. Kristofferson's new album, Feeling Mortal, was released this week, and Nelson's Let's Face the Music and Dance will be released March 5.