Friday December 29
Willie Nelson & Family New Year with Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real
Austin's hometown musician, WILLIE NELSON, returns to Austin City Limits Live to ring in the new year in style with three nights featuring special guest LUKAS NELSON AND PROMISE OF THE REAL. New Year's Eve will also feature a performance by BLACKBERRY SMOKE and appearances by Father Time Texas and Baby New Year!
With a six-decade career and 200 plus albums, this iconic Texan is the creative genius behind the historic recordings of Crazy, Red Headed Stranger, and Stardust. Willie Nelson has earned every conceivable award as a musician and amassed reputable credentials as an author, actor, and activist. He continues to thrive as a relevant and progressive musical and cultural force.
In recent years, he has delivered more than 10 new album releases, released a Top 10 New York Times’ bestsellers book, again headlined Farm Aid, an event he co-founded in 1985, received his 5th degree black belt in Gong Kwon Yu Sul, headlined the last three years of the on-going Luck Reunion food and music festival at his ranch in Luck, TX during SXSW, announced the launch of his cannabis company Willie’s Reserve, and graced the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.
In 2015, Nelson added “It’s A Long Story: My Life,” the unvarnished and complete story of Willie, hit bookshelves and landed him on the New York Times’ bestsellers list; and a new studio album with Merle Haggard titled Django And Jimmie, which debuted at #1 on Billboard‘s Country album chart and #7 on Billboard‘s Top 200 album chart. In November 2015, the Library of Congress honored him with their Gershwin Prize for Popular Song for his contributions to popular music. He is the first country artist to receive the distinguished award. And 2016 began with the release of Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin, a collection of 11 newly recorded Gershwin classics. The album debuted at #1 on both the Top Current Jazz chart and the Top Traditional Jazz chart, as well as earned him a Grammy Award for the Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album. In September, came For the Good Times: A Tribute to Ray Price, an album of newly recorded interpretations of 12 Ray Price songs. While a month later, Nelson released Pretty Paper, his new novel inspired his classic holiday song of the same title about a legless man who sold wrapping paper in front of a Ft. Worth, TX department store. In April 2017, Nelson released God’s Problem Child, his latest studio album with 13 new songs. It debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Country album chart and #10 on the Billboard 200.
Nelson continues to record more new songs for upcoming projects as well as touring throughout North America year long.
Since their formation as teenagers 10 years ago, LUKAS NELSON AND PROMISE OF THE REAL have quietly developed into one of America’s most dazzling new live acts, playing hundreds of shows and major festivals all over the world, attracting a deeply devoted underground following.
Still, with a bounty of invaluable experience under their belts, nothing foretold the artistic leap of Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real their new, self-titled album, a mesmerizing, emotionally genuine, endlessly rewarding work of cosmic country soul released on August 25th, 2017 via Fantasy Records.
Recorded at The Village Studios in West Los Angeles Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real was produced by John Alagia (Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer) and features the band’s new six-piece line-up: Lukas Nelson (guitar, vocals), Tato Melgar (percussion), Anthony LoGerfo (drums), Corey McCormick (bass, vocals) along with new members Jesse Siebenberg (steel guitars, Farfisa organ, vocals) and Alberto Bof (piano, Wurlitzer, B3). Jess Wolfe and Holly Lessig of the indie-pop group Lucius contribute background vocals on five tracks evoking Exile on Main St.’s ecstatic, gospel-rooted harmonies, and Lady Gaga added stirring background vocals to "Carolina” and "Find Yourself.” Elsewhere, the lilting, Glen Campbell inspired gem, "Just Outside of Austin” features a guitar solo from Lukas’ dad, country music icon Willie Nelson, and piano from his 86-year-old Aunt Bobbi.
The new album includes 12 Lukas Nelson originals that draw on his country and rock lineage including literate Texas songsmiths like his father and ‘uncles’ Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Jennings, along with the enduring influence of J.J. Cale, The Band, Clapton-era Delaney & Bonnie and of course, his mentor Neil Young.
Young, an essential member of the POTR family, met the band after he caught them at Farm Aid several years back. "Neil got in touch after that, and we started talking by email,” Lukas recounts. "Eventually, he asked us to record with him. We fell in love with each other musically, one thing led to another and we became Neil’s band.”
"I knew I had a lot of good songs that transcended the cultural boundaries between rock & roll and country,” Lukas says of his vision for the album. "We owe a lot to Neil; we made this record after coming off the road with him for two years. Neil’s been mentoring us, and we’ve been absorbing that energy, and I think it shows. We got acclimated to a different level of artistic expression. I wanted to get the songs as pure as they could be. We’ve grown.”
"Set Me Down on a Cloud,” the soulful, country-rock epic that opens the album features Lucious’ angelic background vocals and Lukas’ lovely, lyrical guitar solo as the band stretches out behind him. "Forget About Georgia” unfolds to a "Layla”-like outpouring of yearning, as it vividly retraces the turbulent, bittersweet final stages of a doomed love affair. Lukas delivers a full-throttle vocal on the closing track, "If I Started Over,” a Roy Orbison-inspired rumination of tender devotion. The R&B grind of "Find Yourself” is a particular triumph as Lukas and Lady Gaga weave an impassioned, romantic ultimatum.
Take a 360° tour of ACL Live and get a sense of what ringing in the new year with us is like, with a special appearance by the Red Headed Stranger himself: