by: Gayle Thompson
More information, including a track listing, is emerging about The Monsanto Years, the highly anticipated album from Neil Young and Promise of the Real, the band featuring Willie Nelson‘s sons, Lukas and Micah Nelson.
The nine-song album, which also comes with a DVD, will be available on June 29; a track listing is available below. The Monsanto Years will be available in a special CD / DVD package, on vinyl and through iTunes and PonoMusic. (Vinyl copies will not be available until August.)
Young hinted earlier in the year that he was working on an album with the Nelsons, noting at the time that The Monsanto Years would be “an upbeat review of the situation.” The project began as a result of Young’s advocacy against Monsanto, a company that produces food additives that are included in many foods, including items allegedly sold at Starbucks, which led Young to boycott the famous coffee chain.
“Still no latte for me,” Young says. “No more Starbucks at all until the giant corporation stands up and comes clean.”
In support of the upcoming record, Neil Young and Promise of the Real are launching the joint Rebel Content Tour, which will launch on July 5 at Milwaukee’s Summerfest. All dates are available at PromiseoftheReal.com.
Pre-orders of The Monsanto Years are currently available at NeilYoung.com. All pre-orders will receive instant downloads of “Big Box” and “A Rock Star Bucks a Coffee Shop.”
Neil Young and Promise of the Real, The Monsanto Years Track Listing:
1. “A New Day for Love”
2. “Wolf Moon”
3. “People Want to Hear About Love”
4. “Big Box”
5. “A Rock Star Bucks a Coffee Shop”
6. “Workin’ Man”
7. “Rules of Change”
8. “Monsanto Years”
9. “If I Don’t Know”
Neil Young and his recent collaborators, Lukas and Micah Nelson — the sons of country great Willie Nelson — performed an acoustic rendition of their new protest song, “The Monsanto Years,” during an anti-GMO event in Maui this weekend, Stereogum reports.
Just like the song — and forthcoming album of the same name — the Outgrow Monsanto event sought to raise awareness of the agrochemical giant’s unhealthy and environmentally unfriendly practices, especially their propagation of genetically modified foods and seeds.
“The Monsanto Years” specifically looks at the issue from the perspective of a farmer who resorts to growing Monsanto-manufactured crops, but thinks often of his mother and father and the untainted farming traditions they passed down. Young and the Nelson brothers’ performance has an impromptu, communal feel as their steely acoustic guitars overlap over rhythms meted out on the bottom of a bucket.
Later that same day, Young and the Nelson brothers did away with their acoustic guitars and blasted through a rendition of “Down By the River,” off Young and Crazy Horse’s 1969 classic, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. Backed by the bellows of the audience, the performance remained true to the original and Lukas held his own during the enviable — but certainly not easy — task of trading solos with Young.
Corporations have feelings
Corporations have soul
That’s why they’re like people
Just harder to controlThey don’t wanna fall so when they fall they fall on youToo big to failToo rich for jail…— ‘Big Box’
by: Andy Greene
Last September, just before he took the stage at Farm Aid Neil Young was hanging out on his tour bus with Willie Nelson’s sons Micah and Lukas. Out of nowhere, he asked if they wanted to come out and join him on “Rockin’ In The Free World” at the end of his set. “We were like, ‘Fuck yeah, dude,'” says Micah. “It felt great, like we’d been jamming together forever.”
Lukas and Micah both play guitar and have their own bands. Lukas, 26, fronts Promise of the Real, while Micah, 25, plays with Insects vs Robots and occasionally plays solo under the name Particle Kid. They have known Young as far back as they can remember. “He’s ‘Uncle Neil,'” Micah tells Rolling Stone. “But until a couple of Farm Aids ago, we never had a chance to just hang out and get a vibe from each other. At the same time, I feel like I’ve always known him forever through his music because it’s so honest.”
In the fall of 2007, Lukas met his future Promise of the Real bandmate Anthony Logerfo when they both caught Young’s show at Nokia Live in Los Angeles. “After the show, we went back to his place and went surfing in the night with a bunch of his buddies,” says Lukas. “I got stung by a stingray, and that night I had to sleep on his couch with my foot in a bucket of hot water to neutralize the [venom] protein. He brought me this huge pile of weed and I knew we’d be best friends after that.”
They called their new band, which features Logerfo on drums, Tato Melgar on percussion and Corey McCormick on bass, Promise of the Real after Young’s line, “Some get stoned, some get strange, but sooner or later it all gets real” from 1974’s “Walk On.” “We listened to Neil Young every day when we started the band,” says Lukas. “And ‘Walk On’ has always been one of my favorite songs.”
“Monsanto is the poster child for the problems we’re having with the corporate government,” Young recently said.
Two weeks after last year’s Farm Aid, Young and Nelson headlined the Harvest the Hope concert in Neligh, Nebraska to protest the proposed Keystone Pipeline. “We were playing as my father’s band that night,” says Lukas. “And Neil called us onto his bus and worked out a few songs he wanted to play with us. All of us just had a blast.”
The Bridge School Benefit came about weeks later, and once again Young called out Micah, Lukas and Promise of the Real to back him on a few songs. “We didn’t know that was going to happen,” says Lukas. “But we brought our instruments just in case he wanted us to join him. It went really well, but after that we didn’t talk for a while.”
Sometime in December, an e-mail arrived from Young. “He was like, ‘Hey, I wrote a bunch of new songs,” says Micah. “I want you guys to come do the record with me. Love, Neil.” They were stunned beyond belief. “I was so stoked,” says Lukas. “I can’t even describe how elated I was.”
The weeks passed and no plans came into place, but on January 7th, Rolling Stone asked Young about his next album at the International Electronics Show in Las Vegas. “‘I’m working on another album now that I’m going to be doing with Willie Nelson’s sons,” he said. It’s called The Monsanto Years. It’s an upbeat review of the situation.” The album is set for release in June, but at the time, this was news to more people than just Young fans. “That’s how we knew it was real,” says Micah. “With Neil, we’ve learned not to expect anything until it’s actually happening. Once it’s in print in the press and he said it, that was the moment where we knew it was for real.”
Today is Patriots’ Day here in Massachusetts, which means our office is closed. It’s also the day of the 119th Boston Marathon, so in celebration of everyone running today, we’d like to say, “Long May You Run.”
— Farm Aid
by: Matt Fountain and Sarah Linn
Legendary folk rocker Neil Young stopped Thursday in San Luis Obispo for a secret show.
The Grammy Award winner took the stage at SLO Brewing Co. at 9 p.m., backed by rock band Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real and played until midnight.
The spur-of-the-moment concert was presented by Good Medicine Presents and Numbskull Productions. Good Medicine co-owner Todd Newman said he and his wife, Korie, have been working with Nelson, son of country star Willie Nelson, since 2007.
“Lukas contacted us last week and asked to work on a secret show,” Todd Newman wrote in an email. “He didn’t offer many details. He simply said, ‘Let’s plan for a concert Thursday and we are going to bring something special to Good Medicine and SLO.’
”It wasn’t until shortly before the show that we found that Neil was the special surprise.”
San Luis Obispo resident Jason Hill was sipping a beer at McCarthy’s Irish Pub at about 7:30 p.m. Thursday when a friend sent him a text message about the Neil Young concert.
“I dropped my beer, ran to the show and got right in line. And then I realized I had no cash,” said Hill, who borrowed enough money to purchase pre-sale tickets for himself, his friend and their fathers.
“It was the best show in San Luis Obispo at SLO Brew,” Hill said. “Because it was a total surprise — and it was Neil Young.”
When Mike Johnson, who lives a few blocks from downtown San Luis Obispo, heard about the show after work, he, too, raced to SLO Brewing Co.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Johnson said. “Seeing Willie Nelson’s son’s band play backup for Neil Young in a tiny venue at the spur of the moment? It was one of the more entertaining things I’ve ever experienced.”
Concertgoers paid just $10 to hear Young play two sets that included a nearly 10-minute long version of “Down By the River” as well as favorites such as “Everybody Knows This is Nowhere” and “Ordinary People.” The energetic crowd that packed SLO Brewing Co., which has a capacity of 457 people, ranged from college students to older folks.
Young announced in January that he is working on a new album with Lukas Nelson and his brother, Micah Nelson.
Known for a long string of hit songs that includes “Harvest Moon,” “Old Man” and “For What It’s Worth,” Young helped shaped the sound of the 1960s and ’70s as a member of two bands — Buffalo Springfield and rock supergroup Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. He’s also enjoyed a successful, decades-spanning career as a solo artist.
Young was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo musician in 1995 and as a member of Buffalo Springfield in 1997.
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Neil Young performs “Heart of Gold” with Willie Nelson at the Farm Aid concert in Louisville, Kentucky on October 1st, 1995. Farm Aid was started by Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp in 1985 to keep family farmers on the land and has worked since then to make sure everyone has access to good food from family farmers. Dave Matthews joined Farm Aid’s board of directors in 2001.