Often referred to as “the Mount Rushmore of country music,” the Highwaymen were all accomplished musicians in their own rights, but when Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, and Willie Nelson came together, the stuff of legend was made. A new PBS documentary American Masters—The Highwaymen: Friends Till the End, premiering Friday, May 27, brings the supergroup back to the stage in never-seen-before concert footage and rare interviews. See the trailer for the film below.
The idea of the four country-music titans joining forces first came about in—of all places—Montreux, Switzerland, in 1984. Johnny Cash was there to film a Christmas special and he asked some close friends and fellow musicians to join him. One night after a rehearsal, Johnny and his wife, June, invited the group back to their hotel suite for dinner and a guitar pull. What started simply as a good-time improvisation among friends went on to produce a decade of great music, three albums, legendary tours, and even a movie, Stagecoach (1986)—of course, all done their way.
(Photographs by Sandy Speiser; Don Hunstein; Melinda Wickman)
The film airs Friday night on PBS stations nationwide. Check your local listings for time and channel. Until then, get a first look now with our exclusive clip below.