Farm Aid returns to Raleigh, N.C., on Sept. 13, and Dave Matthews, who played the first event in 1995 and now sits on its board, says fellow board member Willie Nelson is a "folk hero."

"I remember seeing Willie Nelson on the side of the stage, and he was signing autographs or saying hello to fans for the longest time," Matthews tells Rolling Stone Country of seeing Nelson at the first Farm Aid. "I thought it was amazing how after all those years being a legendary songwriter and a performer in his own right -- and being an advocate for labor and for farmers -- that he is really just those things because that's who he is.

"He has no ambitions for politics or power. He's just genuinely a folk hero," Matthews adds. "He genuinely has concern for the people around and the people that know him."

Nelson is known for standing up for causes he believes in, including an upcoming concert to benefit anti-Keystone XL pipeline efforts, and Matthews says that it's never boring to listen to him talk about the issues.

"Anytime I'm sitting in a room with him, I'm sitting in awe," he says. "When you meet him, like when he said hello to my mom once, you just walk away feeling like you're worth it, like you matter, and that he's not just blowing smoke up your ass. Which is not the case often with people that are in a position like his.

"He really is revolutionary, and I wish more people would pay attention to things he says and be a little more cynical of the people in power in this country and a little more cynical of corporate influence and the almighty dollar," Matthews adds.

Nelson recently shared his opinion on immigration issues in his home state of Texas, as well as the legalization of marijuana.

Farm Aid 2014 will take place at Walnut Creek Amphitheatre in Raleigh, N.C., on Sept. 13. A full lineup can be seen at FarmAid.org. Tickets are available here.