LUKAS NELSON & PROMISE OF THE REAL
TURN OFF THE NEWS BUILD A GARDEN (FANTASY-CONCORD)
LUKAS TURNS ON - AND OFF THE NEWS
“Turn off the news and raise the kids/ give them something to believe in/ teach them now to be good people/ give them hope that they can see/ hope that they can see/ turn off the news and build a garden with me.” - Turn Off The News, Build A Garden - Lukas Nelson & Promise Of The Real.
When Lukas Nelson and his long-time band Promise Of The Real returned here for their April tour they drove home the message of their fifth album title track with dynamic live delivery - especially at the historic Corner Hotel in Richmond.
It may have been a much smaller venue than those played by Lukas's singing sire Willie, now 86, on his tours.
But the aura of singing actor Willie swirled around the venue as Lukas proved why he was chosen to follow him into movies with his major role in writing songs on the soundtrack and performing in the Bradley Cooper-Lady Gaga remake of A Star Is Born.
Lukas's message was, ah, loud and clear - ignore the endless news cycle with its staple diet of war, famine, car jackings, drive-by shootings, murder and mayhem that maul the mean streets of Melbourne and, of course, the Middle East and way beyond.
Sheryl Crow adds her vocals to the track and Neil Young guests on pump organ on the song's acoustic reprise that segues into folksy finale Consider It Heaven .
“Neil and Sheryl both thought it would be better if we had a version that didn't have 'fuck' in it,” Lukas joked.
“Sheryl wanted to show her kids the song and she didn't want to have to explain the word fuck. And so it just made it a more accessible song in many ways, I think, and it's fun. I love it. Sheryl sings incredibly."
Lukas is riding high like Willie who earned massive media exposure when he left hometown Abbott and hit the not so lonesome road with big sister Bobbie, now 88, as a teenager.
I'll take some of the blame for his 1981 tour front page headlines as he adopted the Dead Livers cult hit I'd Love To Have a Joint With Willie as his tour theme that climaxed in a photo with the late Slim Dusty in the Adelaide Advertiser and across the nation.
That was way back in the mists of time and now it's Lukas who is winning wide acclaim for his CD as Willie boomerangs with his latest album Ride Me Home .
The Nelson clan's longevity is reflected in Lukas's major roles in Willie's recent 46 th July 4 Picnic, Farm Aid concerts and prolific Outlaw Music Festivals that extend late into the year.
LOTTA FUN – FATHER AND SON
“Life is heaven, life is hell/ better keep moving cause you might as well/ I don't trust computers anymore/ gonna buy a little weed in the marijuana store/ I get my love, then I'm on the run/ you get a lotta loving when you have a lotta fun.” - Lotta Fun - Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real.
Timely advice in the unlucky radio country where the Feds have been seizing computer emails in raids on the homes of journalists and workplaces of ABC investigative reporters.
It's not just parasitic Putin, Trump chumps and North Korea cretins who are reading the email exposes of big brother buffoons and other Orwellian ogres.
Our local prowlers were active in 1976 when I was asked by former Collingwood footballer and then Victorian MLC and upper house leader Jack Galbally to help expose blatant misuse of suppression orders in local courts to prevent the public's right to know what was happening behind closed doors.
I resurrected the ghost of Charlie Rich by providing Jack with a dossier of the culprits' actions that were designed to protect the identity of a Federal Narcotics agent charged with importation offences and many other prominent criminals.
But I digress.
Lukas does have a use for computers.
“I always like to say, imagine you have galactic news on your TV,” he added. “Not just the news of Earth, but of distant galaxies, and you got all of the news from everywhere. Now, imagine that there's a super fleet of star destroyers travelling to destroy a planet we can never get to. That could be happening right now, we have no idea if that's the case. But if we had galactic news, this would be a huge story, and we'd be freaking out. Your day would be ruined. You'd be freaking out about this thing you literally have no control over.”
Lukas formed Promise Of The Real in Los Angeles in 2007 with Anthony LoGerfo (drums, percussion, vocals), Corey McCormick (bass guitar, vocals), Logan Metz (keyboards, lap steel, guitar, harmonica, vocals), and Tato Melgar (percussion).
He also enlisted his dad's guitar Trigger and brother Micah's electric guitar in Mystery.
CIVILIZED HELL – MAMA TRIED
“Well she's been running for a mighty long time/ cutting fences and snapping lines/ she's growing on me, I hope that she don't go/ wind's blowing on me, I feel the fire grow/ she's a rebel and I like it/ it don't take much to make her yell/ and I draw cold water from a wishing well/ hoping she don't die in a civilized hell.” - Civilized Hell - Lukas Nelson & Promise Of The Real .
Micah guests on Simple Life while Willie, Shooter Jennings, Randy Houser and Lucius also have vocal cameos in the aptly titled Civilized Hell .
"Civilized Hell is a tribute to all the badass women in my life," Lukas revealed.
"Then what we decided, ultimately, was that the concept of Civilized Hell was a sort of sub-concept in culture itself, and a more overarching theme is this. I'd rather just turn off the constant stimulation of devices and reach out to the people around me and connect in a real, human way. And I think that, man or woman, that is a universal theme and concept, so it ultimately felt like a more all-inclusive title for the album."
Lukas covers all extremities of romance in Where Does Love Go and Save a Little Heartache - two of several songs featuring Jessie Siebenberg on lap steel.
But his passion peaks in riveting love lament Out In L.A that segues into Something Real with Hunter Elizabeth on backing vocals and celestial celebration Stars Made Of You.
Lukas, Micah and Willie have utilized Willie's movie town Luck near Austin , Texas , for many of their video clips that have featured on Nu Country TV.
BAD CASE WITH PETTY PRINCESS ADRIA
“You've got a bad case of wanting what you can't have/ must be a terrible feeling/ you've got a bad case of wanting what you can't have/ must be a terrible feeling/ I can't help you anymore/ you can do what you want/ I can't help you anymore/ aw, you're too far gone.” - Bad Case - Lukas Nelson-Promise Of The Real, John Alagia-Jamie Hartman.
Lukas and Promise Of The Real produced the album with John Alagia who plays 12 string guitar and co-wrote album entrée and first single Bad Case.
“There's a type of person who gets caught up in desires and wanting and needing to be this and needing to be that,” Lukas revealed of the song source.
“And as a practicer of the Dao, I want to let desires go. So it's kind of an ode to those folk who want what they can't have always, and don't accept reality for how it is, and just be at peace in the moment. They're always trying to solve some problem. When really they just have to let go and be here, and face themselves and let go of who they think they are and stop putting labels on everything.”
The song video features Adria Petty - daughter of another famed mentor Tom who died after a heart attack on October 2, 2017 - two weeks before his 67 th birthday.
“We met at Cafe Gratitude in Venice , California , and we ended up spending a lot of time together as friends. She's the most beautiful person in the whole world. She's one of the most fantastic loving spirits that exists. So it was natural to eventually do something with her. We started talking, and I knew she was a really good music video director because she'd worked with great artists. And she's a heart friend and a dream mate. We share a lot of commonality and we understand each other. It was one of the greatest times I've ever had doing a music video. Because usually they're really hard and no fun, but she made it fun.
Lukas followed his dad by choosing the Luck family ranch as the video locale.
“Yes, we shot the video at the ranch in Texas ,” Lukas added.
“And when we all got together on the inside - for the Opry house scene we had to film - we were all in there jamming, and Adria really made it fun for us. I just felt like I was in great hands the whole time. I was a big fan of old Westerns growing up. I've always wanted to do a Western music video. Me and my brother were always playing Western with each other, so it's just a natural thing. My dad loves the song and the video. He said it was amazing, and he really was blown away. He was really stoked. It was a beautiful moment, and Adria made that happen and I'm grateful to her for doing it.”
Nelson revealed many of his influences in his memorable album.
"We wanted these songs to be fun and upbeat," says Nelson of Bad Case and other songs.
"But we also wanted to have something to say. Rock 'n' roll began as a counter-cultural movement, so in the true spirit of rock 'n' roll, we're trying to encourage a lifestyle where people can be active in their local communities, rather than glued to a device.
"We listen to so many artists - the Byrds , Tom Petty, Al Green, Neil Young, Little Feat , J.J. Cale - and this album carries forth something they all represented, the idea of turning off the news and doing something constructive. It's a statement about how you can live your life with your heart leading the way."
And, of course, there's green shoots throughout this disc but none as potent as those that prompted Oklahoma singing actor Toby Keith to write and record I'll Never Smoke Weed With Willie Again .
Toby, now 58, and Willie joined forces with comedian Rodney Carrington in the 2008 movie Beer For My Horses
That was long before the night Keith boarded Willie's bus in Vegas for the birthday party of basketball star Charles Barkley.
“It just knocked me out,” Keith says of the experience.
He never made it to the basketball legend's party that night.
Instead he and Willie released a video for their song Waccy Tobbacy that was on Keith's 21 st album.
Toby wrote Waccy Tobaccy with longtime collaborator Scotty Emerick and shot the video on his bus in April, 2017, with Emerick and fellow singer-songwriter Mac McAnally having cameos before Sing Me Back Home : The Music of Merle Haggard tribute concert in Nashville .
Keith, a prominent horse breeder, has his own Wild Shot mezcal line and a chain of I Love This Bar & Grill restaurants.
Lukas settles for a chain of acclaimed live and studio albums and memorable concerts.