Archive for the ‘News and Reviews’ Category

Neil Young covers Willie Nelson, and others, on new album, “A Letter to Home”

Saturday, April 19th, 2014

willieneilfarmaid

Neil Young’s covers album A Letter to Home is out now on Jack White’s Third Man Records. The surprise release comes with the long-awaited track list (and a $20 price tag for vinyl), which includes everything from Bruce Springsteen’s “My Hometown” to Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again” to the Everly Brothers’ “I Wonder if I Care as Much.” As previously reported, the 10-song set was recorded at White’s Nashville HQ, in Third Man’s ’40s-era Voice-O-Graph booth.

As Young described the thing to SPIN last month, “[It's] a phone booth. It’s all acoustic with a harmonica inside a closed space, with one mic to vinyl … It’s a funky old machine, it sounds like Jimmy Rogers or something.” While rumors initially circulated that he and White were doing an entire album of duets, it soon became clear that the latter is only explicitly appearing on two songs. It’s not yet clear which, but White is credited alongside Young as the album’s “reproducer.”

The Third Man site describes the release thusly: “An unheard collection of rediscovered songs from the past recorded on ancient electro mechanical technology captures and unleashes the essence of something that could have been gone forever…” They credit Homer Grosvenor, who probably doesn’t exist, but there is a Governor Mosher in Denver. Perhaps he kicked in enough PONO cash to get his name anagrammed into Youngian history.

Neil Young, A Letter Home track list:

1. “Changes” (Phil Ochs)
2. “Girl From The North Country” (Bob Dylan)
3. “Needle of Death” (Bert Jansch)
4. “Early Morning Rain” (Gordon Lightfoot) 5. “Reason To Believe” (Tim Hardin)
6. “On The Road Again” (Willie Nelson)
7. “If You Could Only Read My Mind” (Gordon Lightfoot)
8. “Since I Met You Baby” (Ivory Joe Hunter)
9. “My Hometown” (Bruce Springsteen)
10. “I Wonder if I Care as Much” (Everly Brothers)

Willie Nelson & Family in Santa Clarita (4/5/14)

Friday, April 11th, 2014

santaclarita

http://scvnews.com

by: Stephen Peeples

[KHTS] – American music legend Willie Nelson & Family brought their signature Texas sound to the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons Saturday night, delivering a roughly 90-minute set of perennial Nelson originals, classic covers and a couple newer songs for a sold-out audience.

Nelson, who turns 81 on April 29, was in good spirits, with a friendly, mile-wide grin. His distinctly reedy voice was strong, and his fingers were facile on the frets of his road-thrashed but trusty 1969 Martin N20 acoustic guitar, nicknamed Trigger.

Throughout the 27-song set, Nelson characteristically sang around the beat and played his jazzy, mostly improvised solos nearly as well as he did when this reviewer first saw him perform in Austin in 1975, at his third annual Fourth of July Picnic. After another 39 years on the road, he has mellowed, as one would certainly expect, but his celebrated chops as a guitarist remain impressive.

You could call Santa Clarita a three-bandana show. That’s how many headbands Nelson chucked out into the audience for lucky fans in the rows close to left, right and center stage.

Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real featuring Nelson’s twentysomething sons Lukas and Micah opened the concert.
Fronted by Lukas on lead vocals and guitar with Micah on percussion, P.O.T.R. (as they’re known to fans) performed a powerful 40-minute set of bluesy-rock originals from the band’s four indie CDs (three studio, the most recent live — “Live Endings” from 2012).

Country Star to Outlaw Icon: A Bit of Willie Background for Context
Originally from Abbott, Texas, Nelson has lived back in the Lone Star state since the early 1970s. He had fled the creative constraints of the country music establishment in Nashville, where he had earned his first fame and fortune as a songwriter and recording artist in the early ‘60s.
These events are at the core of his original repertoire, which spans more than half a century, and his celebrated reputation as a country music outlaw and unapologetic marijuana advocate.

Nelson has more than 100 albums in his catalog, on Liberty, RCA, Atlantic, Columbia, Rhino and a slew of indie labels. He has earned seven Grammy awards, the first for “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” in 1976 (from ‘75’s “Red-Headed Stranger,” his first album for Columbia and breakthrough to the big-time) and the most recent for “Lost Highway” (a duet with his former boss, Ray Price) in 2007. Nelson picked up the

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Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000.

Recognized as an American icon by fans ranging from rednecks to royalty around the world, Nelson was a Kennedy Center honoree in 1998. He’s also appeared in films like “Honeysuckle Rose” and “The Electric Horseman,” and is a best-selling author.

His colorful history is well documented, probably most completely by his books including “Willie: An Autobiography” (with Bud Shrake; Simon & Schuster, 1988) and “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die: Musings from the Road” (with illustrations by son Micah and foreword by Kinky Friedman, another colorful Texan; William Morrow, 2012).

Also essential are Texas Monthly writer and Stevie Ray Vaughan biographer Joe Nick Patoski’s award-winning biography “Willie Nelson: An Epic Life” (Little, Brown, 2008), and, of course, Nelson’s own website. A short bio is included in a PAC preview by this writer.

The Family that Plays Together: The Santa Clarita Lineups

PAC, Nelson shared the stage with his “little sister” Bobbie (age 83), on her baby grand piano, drummer-percussionist Paul English (also in his early 80s) and harmonica master Mickey Raphael (62), who have all been touring and recording as members of the Family band for 40-plus years.
Nelson’s sons Lukas and Micah played electric guitar and percussion, respectively, in their father’s band.

Rounding out the Family lineup were electric and upright bassist Kevin Smith (who joined in 2011 after longtime member Bee Spears died) and drummer/percussionist Billy English, Paul’s brother, who played most of the show using brushes on a kit stripped down to a snare drum. Nelson’s daughter Amy joined the Family to harmonize on the closing gospel medley.

And few in the audience seemed to notice, but actor-drummer John Stamos, a friend of Lukas’s, joined the band on percussion for the medley.
Sons Lukas & Micah Playing Musical Opening Acts on ‘To All the Girls…’ Tour

Along with Lukas and Micah Nelson, Promise of the Real features bassist Corey McCormick, drummer Anthony LoGerfo and percussionist Tato Melgar.

Micah Nelson also leads his own band, Insects vs. Robots, an experimental psychedelic outfit that opened his dad’s concert at The Wiltern in Los Angeles last Wednesday night, and includes Lukas as well.

The sons’ bands, based in Venice, Calif., and Maui, Hawaii, are getting valuable exposure as they alternate the opening slot on the current leg of an extended tour supporting Willie’s latest album, “To All the Girls…,” released by Legacy/Sony in October.

The collection includes warm and tender (and occasionally rollicking) duets with equally esteemed female vocalists, among them Wynona Judd, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Roseanne Cash, Mavis Staples, Norah Jones, Emmylou Harris, Alison Kraus, Carrie Underwood, Shelby Lynne and more.

On this Western swing, along with the Santa Clarita date, Nelson’s “Rollin’ Smoke Revue” (four huge tour buses and a full-length semi-trailer full of equipment) rolled into Riverside April 1, L.A. April 2, and San Diego April 4. After Santa Clarita, Nelson and family headed north to Davis (April 9), Carmel (April 10) and Berkeley (April 11).

Willie Nelson & Family’s Santa Clarita Set

It’s impossible to pack all of Nelson’s greatest hits and fan favorites into a 90-minute show, or even the two-hour-plus marathons the Family band played in the ‘70s and ‘80s. (more…)

Willie Nelson Art, by Billy Austin

Monday, April 7th, 2014

billyaustin2

www.portadowntimes.co.uk

Billy Austin is a sketcher and watercolour painter extraordinaire, and we will be featuring this side of his character next week.

He’s a great fan of the American country singer Willie Nelson, and met him once at a Belfast gig where the star signed Billy’s sketch (illustrated) and was highly impressed.

Billy was delighted and it remains one of his most treasured possessions.

And it had a quirky sequel. Billy is a devoted follower of Facebook and posted the Nelson sketch and had hundreds of comments and ‘likes’.

These included an American Nelson fan, a woman who asked permission of Billy if she could copy his Nelson sketch to have it tattooed on one arm, plus could he prepare a colour version for her other arm!

“I did just that, and she sent me a digital picture of the finished articled,” said Billy. “She was delighted.”

That’s just one instance of the hundreds of sketches and paintings that Billy has produced, here and all over the Continent.

Read about it next week…

Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real (Boulder, CO) (Mar. 30, 2014)

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Joshua Elioseff3

http://www.heyreverb.com
story and photos by Josh Elioseff

Lukas Nelson brought funkified country to a modest, but eager, crowd at Boulder’s Fox Theatre on Sunday night. He leapt, sang, joked and jammed the night away, delivering everything from ballads to soul to hard rock with a fervor. And if you closed your eyes, you could hear tinges of his famous father (Willie Nelson). But open them up again and you’d realize that Lukas is his own man and is bringing his own twist on the sound. Boulder’s own The Longest Day of the Year provided a solid opening to a long evening of music.

Joshua Elioseff2

lukasfox

Joshua Elioseff,

See more of Ellioseff’s great photos here. 

Willie Nelson will be inaugeral inductee in to Austin City Limits Hall of Fame (April 26, 2014)

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

aclmonique5

http://austin.culturemap.com
by:  Arden Ward

For decades, Austin City Limits has exposed music lovers across the country to intimate performances by some of the scene’s most legendary performers. This year, to celebrate its 40th season, the beloved program announces the ACL Hall of Fame, which will induct iconic performers — and supporters — from the show’s rich legacy.

On April 26, ACL will return to its original home, Studio 6A on the University of Texas at Austin campus, for the inaugural induction. Its first musical inductees will be Texas music legends Willie Nelson, who appeared on the pilot episode of Austin City Limits; and Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, who performed on the show in 1984 and 1990. They will be honored alongside two individuals who played a lasting role in the success of the series: the show’s creator Bill Arhos and former University of Texas football coach, Darrel K Royal.

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Both Vaughan and Royal will be inducted posthumously; Nelson, Arhos and Vaughan’s band Double Trouble, featuring Chris Layton, Tommy Shannon and Reese Wynans, will be inducted at the event.

“There are other Halls of Fame, but none quite like this,” says ACL Executive Producer Terry Lickona. “Austin City Limits has become a unique American institution, in both the worlds of popular music and television. It has such a rich history and legacy that we decided it was time to celebrate and honor the artists and individuals who made it what it is today.”

An invitation-only event, the inaugural Hall of Fame Inaugural Induction Ceremony will benefit Austin PBS affiliate KLRU. The intimate evening of music and celebration will feature performances by a host of classic Austin City Limits performers, including Doyle Bramhall II, Mike Farris, Buddy Guy, Emmylou Harris, Lyle Lovett, Lukas Nelson, Robert Randolph and Kenny Wayne Shepherd as well as Willie Nelson.

The 40th anniversary season of Austin City Limits will air beginning October 2014.

Willie Nelson @Tuacahn (March 28, 2014)

Monday, March 31st, 2014

utah

 

A seven time Grammy Award winner, Willie Nelson has received numerous accolades, including American Music Awards, Academy of Country Music Awards, Country Music Association Awards and others.  He is a co-founder of Farm Aid, an annual series of fundraising events which began as an all-star benefit concert in 1985 to raise money for American family farmers.  He continues to lobby against horse slaughter and produces his own blend of biodiesel fuel.  An old-school road dog troubadour with new school wheels, Willie plays concerts eyar round, tireless touring on th Honeysuckle Rose III (he rode the first two buses into the ground), taking his music and fans to places that are always worth the ride.

Willie Nelson has been an American Music Icon for decades.  Nelson has over 2,500 songs and 300 albums under his belt.  He is a member of the Grand Ole Opry, and in 1933 he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.  In addition ot his outstanding music career Nelson has had 38 television and movie appearances including The Electric Horseman, filmed right here in Southern Utah.

– Thank you Budrock, Willie Nelson’s lighting director, for sending this photo of the program from the Willie Nelson & Family Show in Ivins, UT.

Alison Krauss and Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas to tour with Willie Nelson

Monday, March 31st, 2014

Alison_Krauss

http://digitaljournal.com

Grammy-winning band Alison Krauss and Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas is expected to embark on a co-headlining tour with country veteran star Willie Nelson.

Alison Krauss and Union Station is comprised of such talented musicians and multi-instrumentalists as Dan Tyminsky, Ron Block, Barry Bales and Jerry Douglas.

Their 35-city tour will commence on May 1 in Murray, Kentucky at the CFSB Center at Murray State University. One of their tour stops will be at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall on June 10, 2014.

This marks the first time that Country Music Hall of Famer Willie Nelson will be touring with the hit country and bluegrass group, Alison Krauss and Union Station. Special guests on this tour will include folk trio The Devil Makes Tree, singer-songwriter Jason Isbell, as well as rising country songstress Kacey Musgraves, who recently took home two Grammy awards for “Best Country Song” and “Best Country Album” for Same Trailer Different Park.

Willie Nelson & Family @ Turlock, California (4/6/14) SOLD OUT

Friday, March 28th, 2014

heartbreakere

  • Willie Nelson & Family
    WHEN: 7:30 p.m. April 6
    WHERE: Turlock Community Theatre, 1574 E Canal Drive
    TICKETS: Sold out
    CALL: (209) 668-1169
    ONLINE: www.turlocktheatre.org

www.modbee.com
by: Marijke Rowland

Almost all bands consider themselves family. Willie Nelson stacks his with real family.

The country music legend has one of the longest-running bands in the business, which includes his sister Bobbie on piano and now his son Lukas on guitar. The whole clan comes to the Turlock Community Theatre on April 6 for a sold-out show.

Willie Nelson & Family have been crisscrossing the country since 1973. Fifteen years later, Nelson’s oldest living son, Lukas Nelson, was born. The younger Nelson, now 25, said he didn’t decide to follow in his famous father’s footsteps into music. It was just always in his blood.

“I didn’t really have a choice, I think music found me,” Lukas said in a phone interview while relaxing from the tour in Jackson Hole, Wyo. “It was more of like I was drawn to it, and it wasn’t like a premeditated thing. It just happened.”

Growing up, Lukas listened to everything from Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix to The Beatles and Bob Dylan. And there was always his father’s work, as well.

“My only requisite for the music I listen to was it has soul to it,” Lukas said. “There are all different kinds of soul and all different kinds of music.”

The elder Nelson’s music has become an American institution. He started as a songwriter in the late 1950s, penning such classics as “Crazy” and “Funny How Time Slips Away.” Across six decades, he has won 11 Grammy Awards, been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and received the Kennedy Center Honors.

In 2012, Willie released the studio album “Heroes,” which included new renditions of some of his favorites, classic numbers and new songs co-written with Lukas.

When the album was released, Willie told The New York Times that playing with his offspring on stage was “the biggest thrill I can get.” But Willie said having real family in his Family isn’t as much about passing the torch as it is making good music.

“I’m just playing music with someone really good. He happens to be my kid. It makes it that much better for me,” he told the Times.

Lukas told The Bee the familial bond simply makes their music better. “I think when family members play music together, there is a connection that can’t be found in any other situation,” he said. “Music is about making connection. When you already have such a strong connection to someone by being a family member, the music just amplifies that.”

But Lukas isn’t just a Family member, he also has his own band and sound. While he started playing with his father’s band on stage at age 13, Lukas decided to pursue music while in college. He dropped out and said he has been on tour ever since.

He started his band, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, about five years ago. It plays a blend of rock and “a whole bunch of stuff that influenced me and our music,” Lukas said. In 2011, Promise of the Real played Ironstone Vineyards in Murphys as part of Willie Nelson’s Country Throwdown Tour.

The group, which opens for Willie and Family on tour, has a new album, titled “Love Yourself,” coming out in a couple of months. It will be the four-piece band’s third studio release.

The Nelson family’s cultural influence shows no signs of slowing down. Willie, who turns 81 next month, continues to tour perpetually. This year, he performed during the Grammy Awards broadcast and at the popular South by Southwest festival, with Lukas.

Lukas said he plans to keep making music and touring for the rest of his life. Being on the road again – like father, like son.

Bee staff writer Marijke Rowland

Read more here: http://www.modbee.com/2014/03/27/3261062/country-music-legend-willie-nelson.html?sp=/99/2628/#storylink=cpy

 

Willie Nelson, Alison Krauss Bethlehem, PA (6/11/14)

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

brianhineline
by: Brian Hineline

www.mcall.com
By John J. Moser

Willie Nelson, a country music mainstay who has released more than 125 albums in a career that has stretched more than 55 years, will return to Sands Bethlehem Event Center, the venue announced Monday.

This time, he’s teaming up with country singer, songwriter and fiddler Alison Krauss, who has won 26 Grammy Awards (she’s been nominated for 38), making her the most-awarded female artist, the most-awarded singer, and the third most-awarded artist overall in Grammy history.

The pair will play the center at 8 p.m. June 11.

Tickets, at $79.50 to $99.50, will go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday at www.sandseventcenter.com, the center box office, www.Ticketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster outlets or by phone at 800-745-3000.

Kraus will play with her band, Union Station.

The 80-year-old Nelson has had an astounding 73 Top 40 singles — 18 of which went to No. 1.

In October, he released a new album, “To All the Girls …” composed of duets recorded by Nelson with prominent female country singers. It follows another album, “Let’s Face the Music and Dance,” released in April, a collection of standards that Nelson and his sister Bobbie played throughout their careers.

Nelson also is a founder of the Farm Aid concerts that raise money for family farmers.

He played at the event center in June, and also played at Penn’s Peak near Jim Thorpe in 2011, and Allentown’s Coca-Cola Park with Bob Dylan and John Mellencamp in 2009.

He’s perhaps best known for his songs “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” “Georgia on My Mind,” “On the Road Again” and “Always on My Mind.”

Krauss is credited with helping to renew interest in bluegrass music in the United States with her songs on the movie soundtracks of “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” and “Cold Mountain.”

She began recording professionally when she was 14 and has released 17 albums in her 29-year career. Her latest was 2011′s “Paper Airplane,” which went to No. 1 on the country chart and No. 3 on Billboard’s overall albums chart.

One of her biggest successes was the 2007 album “Raising Sand” with former Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant. It went platinum and won five Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year and Record of the Year for “Please Read the Letter.”

She also appeared at the 2004, Academy Awards, performing two songs from the nominated “Cold Mountain” soundtrack.

Her 2011 disc “Lonely Runs Both Ways” with Union Station won three Grammys, including Best Country Album.

Krauss and Union Station headlined Bethlehem’s  Musikfest in 2011.

john.moser@mcall.com

Willie Nelson & Keith Urban @ U.S. iTunes Music Festival (Austin) (2014)

Sunday, March 23rd, 2014

ebetroberts
photo:  Ebet Roberts

www.billboard.com
by:  Gary Graff

A sampler plate of country music closed out the inaugural U.S. iTunes Music Festival on Saturday (March 15) at South By Southwest, giving the genre a wide and varied berth after four previous days of rock, pop and rap.

The exuberant crowd at the ACL Live at Moody Theater was up for all of it, however, from the pop leaning of powerhouse newcomer Mickey Guyton to the rocking edge of headliner Keith Urban and the Americana sprawl of Willie Nelson – who was afforded an appropriate home town hero’s welcome in a venue that has a statue of him in at its entrance and is on an Austin street named after him.

Nelson and his eight-piece band did nothing more or less than what they always do, opening the 45-minute, 15-song set with the traditional “Whiskey River” and then rolling through a selection of favorites either written or interpreted by Nelson during his many decades making music. He remains adept at subtly recasting his catalog, and songs such as “Beer For My Horses,” with its call-and-response choruses, and the medley of “Funny How Time Just Slips Away,” “Crazy” and “Night Life” were treated with slightly different textures and cadences, but always with their familiar melodies intact.

Nelson pulled out other totems such as “Good Hearted Woman,” “Mama Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” and “On the Road Again,” while he let sister and pianist Bobbie Nelson lead the group through “Down Yonder” and son Lukas Nelson front a rendition of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Texas Flood” juiced up with solos by all three guitarists and harmonica player Mickey Raphael. The night’s surprise was “a new gospel song” called “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me when I’m Dead” – which Nelson and company followed with the more reverent “I Saw the Light.”

Urban, meanwhile, closed the evening with his high-octatne, arena-sized bombast, mixing virtuoistic guitar work and earthy charm across a catalog-spanning 17-song, 90-minute set. A muscular instrumental intro led into equally uptempo opening of “Long Hot Summer” and “Sweet Thing,” the latter featuring an extended Urban solo. “Stupid Boy” was an early showstopper, while quieter tracks such as “Come Back to Me” and “Without You” – whose video images of Urban shirtless and on his wedding day with actress Nicole Kidman drew big cheers – slipped in amidst torqued-up versions of “Even the stars Fall For You,” “Kiss a Girl,” “Good Thing,” “Put You in a Song” and a lusty “Somebody  Like You.”

During “You Gonna Fly” Urban came off the stage to perform it and part of “Better Life” from the middle of the Moody Theater’s floor, while he finished the night spending most of “You Look Good in My Shirt” in the venue’s mezzanine, making the already intimate setting a bit a more up-close-and-personal.

All of the iTunes Festival performances were streamed live and will reside in the iTunes store as on-demand features

Heartbreaker Banquet 2014

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Willie Nelson headlining Heartbreaker Banquet
photo:  Suzanne Cordiero
www.examiner.com
by Greg Ackerman

The third annual Banquet sponsored by Electric Lady Studios and Robot Fondue at Willie Nelson’s Luck, Texas ranch Thursday during SXSW featured a surprise appearance by the red-headed stranger himself. The event held during South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival has featured Jim James (My Morning Jacket), Gary Clark Jr., Father John Misty and Shovels and Rope in the last couple of years. This year’s lineup was possibly Heartbreaker Banquet’s finest as The Wild Feathers, Lucius, Shakey Graves and Lucas Nelson and the Promise of the Real performed in front of approximately 1,000 fans at the intimate venue. The evening ended with Nelson performing an hour long set filled with old standards the crowd lustily sang along to. Craft beer and Moonshine liquor flowed all day at the event. Tattos were offered free of charge in the “jail” and intimate, fantastic sets took place in the Chapel. The bucolic setting along with a thoughtfully produced event gave Heartbreaker Banquet the feel of an Americana Music wonderland you never want to leave.

Willie hit the stage around nine rolling out a host of hit tunes like “Whiskey River”, Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” a trio of Hank Williams covers and a rollicking “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die” with his son (and co-writer) alongside him playing guitar. The Braided One was in front of his people, on his gorgeous ranch in Texas Hill Country playing songs he loves to an adoring audience. It could not have been more perfect. By the time the hour long set concluded it seemed as though every soul in the venue was grinning ear to ear, eyes shining in awe of the performance they just witnessed.

We grabbed a clip of the crowd singing along to “Mama Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys on instagram for you. You can tell how much fun folks were having in the video.

Before Willie held court to close the evening, his son Lukas delivered a dynamic, energy-filled set that featured a killer cover of the Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil.” Lucas Nelson and the Promise of the Real really are the real deal. Nelson showed off his exceptional guitar chops. At one point the younger Nelson played his six-string with his teeth a la Hendrix. Lukas is a leaper too. He often climbed atop the drum riser and launch himself into the air during his incendiary six song set.

Besides Willie, the standout act of the day was Lucius from New York City. The indie-popsters play a blend of silky harmonies by Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig in front of a three excellent musicians. Lucius have a hard to define sound that does not fit into a particular genre. The group played beautifully really rocking out on a couple of tracks which got the languid audience hyped up a bit. We certainly took notice. So have other music fans who have begun to propel Lucius past buzz band status. It was easy to see why with the ladies dressed alike in red dresses and sunglasses floated luscious harmonies over the crowd while the rest of the band rocked behind them.

Check out their song, “Doreen” and you will see why Lucius’ shimmery pop made such an impression. The group hits Europe next month for a 12 city tour that begins with an already sold-out show in Paris. Frankly we are already looking forward to seeing Lucius again.

In the chapel earlier in the afternoon we caught Austin folk artist  Shakey Graves play a great set that included a full band for the opening song. The players left the stage after that leaving Graves to continue as the one-man-show the singer has become famous for. Playing an acoustic while working a kick drum imbedded in a suitcase, Graves shared his Texas folk sounds to a tiny audience of 50 inside the chapel while many more listened from outside. So many fans wanted to see Graves’ set that people could be seen trying to climb into the capacity building through the low open-frame windows. Organizers politely put a stop to that before Graves hit the stage.

Be sure to check out the amazing photos by Suzanne Cordeiro from Heartbreaker Banquet in the slideshow.

Monday, March 17th, 2014

sxsw

see the slide show of more pictures from the show here.

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca
by:  Joshua Ostroff

SXSW 2014 will forever be marked by tragedy — the senseless deaths of two festival goers and 23 injured by a drunk driver now facing the death penalty won’t soon be forgotten, nor will Tyler the Creator’s arrest for inciting a riot.

But the silver lining surrounding that dark cloud was that so much astounding music was still there to be found throughout the 28th annual music festival in Austin, Texas.

South by Southwest may have been occupied by crass corporate brands and drunken spring breakers — a couple hundred thousand people descend on Austin, though only 20,000 are SXSW delegates — but there were also about 2,300 musical acts from every conceivable genre playing at every conceivable space.

And what other festival could be highlighted by local legend Willie Nelson, transgender punk Laura Jane Grace’s group Against Me!, a Gorillaz reunion, and Blondie covering the Beastie Boys?

Nelson’s impressive performance Saturday night was hardly surprising — there’s a reason that the ACL Live at the Moody Theatre venue, where iTunes was staging its side-festival during SXSW, is on Willie Nelson Blvd and boasts a statue of the country icon.

But never having seen him live before, Nelson’s incorporation of blues and jazz into his old-world country proved inspiring, as was his inclusion of my favourite song “Me and Paul” since he has hundreds of potential tracks to choose from. He even played “Crazy” (which he wrote but is most famous for the Patsy Cline version) and then solo’d his popular Toby Keith duet “Beer for my Horses.”

His only official special guest was Lily Meola, a young woman with an old voice, who lent her smoky croon to their duet “Will You Remember Mine.” The 80-year-old also let his son Lukas take lead on the Stevie Ray Vaughn tune, “Texas Flood.” The younger Nelson ably proved his father’s selection was no act of nepotism, delivering blistering electric blues guitar work and solidly-gruff vocals that brought the crowd to its feet in the middle of the song.

Nelson the elder then introduced a “new gospel tune” called, “Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die,” which inspired the festival’s most amusing sing-along.

That is, not counting when Blondie diverged from their own classics — and pretty great new songs — to play the Beastie Boys’ “Fight For Your Right (To Party)” which saw the crowd at Rachael Ray’s insanely popular Feedback party (people began lining up at 3 a.m.) pumping their fists, while rapping along with Debbie Harry.

Willie Nelson and Keith Urban @ iTunes Festival (3/15/14)

Sunday, March 16th, 2014

itunes
http://www.billboard.com
by Gary Graff

A sampler plate of country music closed out the inaugural U.S. iTunes Music Festival on Saturday (March 15) at South By Southwest, giving the genre a wide and varied berth after four previous days of rock, pop and rap.

The exuberant crowd at the ACL Live at Moody Theater was up for all of it, however, from the pop leaning of powerhouse newcomer Mickey Guyton to the rocking edge of headliner Keith Urban and the Americana sprawl of Willie Nelson – who was afforded an appropriate home town hero’s welcome in a venue that has a statue of him in at its entrance and is on an Austin street named after him.

Nelson and his eight-piece band did nothing more or less than what they always do, opening the 45-minute, 15-song set with the traditional “Whiskey River” and then rolling through a selection of favorites either written or interpreted by Nelson during his many decades making music. He remains adept at subtly recasting his catalog, and songs such as “Beer For My Horses,” with its call-and-response choruses, and the medley of “Funny How Time Just Slips Away,” “Crazy” and “Night Life” were treated with slightly different textures and cadences, but always with their familiar melodies intact.

Nelson pulled out other totems such as “Good Hearted Woman,” “Mama Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” and “On the Road Again,” while he let sister and pianist Bobbie Nelson lead the group through “Down Yonder” and son Lukas Nelson front a rendition of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Texas Flood” juiced up with solos by all three guitarists and harmonica player Mickey Raphael. The night’s surprise was “a new gospel song” called “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me when I’m Dead” – which Nelson and company followed with the more reverent “I Saw the Light.”

Urban, meanwhile, closed the evening with his high-octatne, arena-sized bombast, mixing virtuoistic guitar work and earthy charm across a catalog-spanning 17-song, 90-minute set. A muscular instrumental intro led into equally uptempo opening of “Long Hot Summer” and “Sweet Thing,” the latter featuring an extended Urban solo. “Stupid Boy” was an early showstopper, while quieter tracks such as “Come Back to Me” and “Without You” – whose video images of Urban shirtless and on his wedding day with actress Nicole Kidman drew big cheers – slipped in amidst torqued-up versions of “Even the stars Fall For You,” “Kiss a Girl,” “Good Thing,” “Put You in a Song” and a lusty “Somebody  Like You.”

During “You Gonna Fly” Urban came off the stage to perform it and part of “Better Life” from the middle of the Moody Theater’s floor, while he finished the night spending most of “You Look Good in My Shirt” in the venue’s mezzanine, making the already intimate setting a bit a more up-close-and-personal.

All of the iTunes Festival performances were streamed live and will reside in the iTunes store as on-demand features.

Willie Nelson, Mike Myers, Shep Gordon celebrate: “Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordo”

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

AnnieRay
photo:  Annie Ray
http://austin.culturemap.com
By Shelley Neuman

The threat of rain and chilly March temperatures couldn’t keep stars and fans away from Threadgill’s on Sunday evening for a private party celebrating Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon. Directed by Mike Myers (yes, the same one who tickled our funny bones with Saturday Night Live skits and movies like Wayne’s World), the film’s U.S. premiere took place during SXSW.

The famed Austin music haunt served as the perfect backdrop to celebrate the documentary, which follows the legendary career of Shep Gordon, a friend of Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix who once managed Alice Cooper and Blondie. The mastermind behind the event was Mark Rivers, a recent Austin transplant and president/chief executive officer of Brix and Company.

shelleyNeuman
by Shelly Neuman

Celebrity guests at the private affair included Mike Myers, Tom Arnold and Shep Gordon. Attendees danced the night away to intimate live music by Ray Benson and MilkDrive, Lily Meola and Lukas Nelson. They were rewarded with a surprise performance from none other than Willie Nelson.

We doubt there’s a better way to spend a Lone Star evening under the stars.
Kerri Lohmeier
Mark Rivers, Tom Arnold, Nancy Meola and Shep Gordon.
Photo by Kerri Lohmeier

Johnny Depp joins Willie Nelson on stage in Austin

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

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www.examiner.com
photo and storyby:  Suzanne Cordeiro

Living legend Willie Nelson hit the Main Stage of Rodeo Austin on Sunday, March 9 and mega star Johnny Depp joined him on stage to perform his entire set.   Johnny is not only an incredible actor and film producer, but also an accomplished musician.  Johnny Depp has been playing guitar since he was a child and it is not uncommon to find him performing with a variety of notable musicians.  For an Austin, Texas gig during SXSW however, playing lead guitar alongside Willie Nelson might just be the coolest gig ever.

See more stories, and the rest of the article here.