He gave up a promising military career decades ago to follow his muse to Nashville.

Yet Kris Kristofferson seemed something like an old warrior carrying on in his solo performance at the State Theatre on Thursday night.

Now 80 years old, the Texas-born troubadour has survived the highs and lows of fame in the music and movie business, as well as some recent health scares.

Given all that, his wit, wisdom and vocal style, though obviously well-seasoned, were largely intact and very much appreciated at this stop on his latest tour.

Kristofferson walked a bit gingerly to center stage.

But once standing before the microphone with acoustic guitar and harmonica at the ready, he proved more than capable of summoning much of that rough-hewn charm that has served him well over the years.

His personalized version of traditional country and folk forms, as always, suggested hard-won knowledge, which he shares with the melancholy resolve of an irredeemable “outlaw” romantic.

His many hits were spread throughout the 90-minute show.

Fans didn’t have to wait long for “Me and Bobby McGee,” his signature tune, famously covered by Janis Joplin. “Help Me Make It Through the Night” and “Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I’ll Ever Do Again)” were both welcomed with combinations of sighs and cheers by the large, multigenerational crowd.

The singer responded to the adulation, asking the audience if they wanted to go along with him on tour.

Some humorous tunes, including one about an old Army buddy, had both the former helicopter pilot turned singer-songwriter and the crowd chuckling.

Also, at one point, the slender vocalist offered a self-deprecating and endearing smile as he briefly fumbled a finger-picked guitar lick.

Kristofferson was proud to note that his historically minded song “They Killed Him” was taken on by the man he called “my hero,” Bob Dylan.

Sad songs like “Nobody Wins” and “Jody and the Kid” included vocal signs of emotion from the silver-haired singer.

The hushed crowd was obviously spellbound but managed to quietly sing along to “For the Good Times.”

“Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down” brought everyone into that lost and lonely feeling once again. “Please Don’t Tell Me How the Story Ends,” offered as an encore, resonated on many levels.

Minutes after the show, fans on High Street cheered again when they spotted the legend boarding his bus for the next destination on his long musical journey.

Steve Feeney is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.