Weekend Music Interlude — Lukas Nelson singing “Forget About Georgia”

Lukas Nelson is the son of country singer-songwriter Willie Nelson and his current wife Annie D’Angelo. Lukas was born in Austin, Texas but grew up in Maui, Hawaii. He learned guitar and had a talent for singing, which he pursued in order to spend more time with his famous father. He moved to Los Angeles in 2007 to attend Loyola Marymount University, but soon dropped out of college to pursue a music career full time. In October 2008 he formed his band The Promise of the Real.

During their early years the band performed in various SoCal venues and their music, according to AllMusic, the band self-described as “cowboy hippie surf rock.” Since that time he and his band have accompanied Willie Nelson on tour, and have performed as Neil Young’s backup band. Despite the pedigree and promotion, Lukas and his band has not drawn considerable attention nor reached stardom, but that seems to be changing as he approaches his tenth year of performing.

Lukas Nelson’s music has matured over the years, and in 2016 he began to show his talent as a powerful singer-songwriter, drawing from a wide range of musical influences from the Country Outlaw musicians to Jimi Hendrix to Eric Clapton to Neil Young to the Allman Brothers Band, among others. WXPN radio just designated Lukas Nelson and The Promise of the Real band as artist to watch for November 2017. Their new self-titled album was released this past summer on Fantasy Records.

In the performance below the acoustic venue demonstrates the power of his songwriting and the powerful emotions that he elicits in connecting with the subject matter of his songs. His voice is very reminiscent of his father’s, but with a fullness and deepness of its own.

 

Saturday Night Music Interlude — The Marcus King Band performing “Rita is Gone”

The lead singer and guitarist that provides the Marcus King Band’s moniker hails from Greenville, South Carolina, and plays what he calls “soul-influenced psychedelic southern rock,” which is an apt description.  Only 20 years old, Marcus King’s father, Marvin King, was a regionally popular blues and gospel singer, and his grandfather was a regional musician as well.  Growing up as a boy, young Marcus told eastof8th blog “I was listening to George Jones, Chet Atkins, and Merle Haggard with my granddad.  Later on, I was heavily influenced by jazz cats like Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Jimmy Smith.”

The legendary Warren Haynes has promoted Marcus and his band as a true believer, performing with them at concerts and inviting Marcus King to perform with him in the band Gov’t Mule.  The band has two albums to its credit: Soul Insight, a gritty blues, southern rock and prog rock-inflected debut, and the self-titled double disc Marcus King Band on the Fantasy label.

Touring in anticipation of their new album, they impressed at SXSW, jamming out with George Clinton, performed at Mountain Jam that included electric sets and extended jams with Warren Haynes, and–a last minute substitute booking–took the XPoNential Music Festival in Philadelphia by storm, becoming WXPN’s August Artist to Watch.

You can hear the musical influences that informed Marcus’ sound blend together in the mix of horns, drums, keyboards, and guitar, the band’s eclectic mix of blues, soul, prog rock, and southern rock producing a gumbo reminiscent of Tower of Power at their peak mixed in with a bit of Allman Brothers, a slice of John McLaughlin, a dash of Gov’t Mule, and a pinch of Hendrix psychedelia.  While still a bit raw and unfocused at times, this is one talent to watch as he matures and develops his sound.

Here is the band at WFUV performing “Rita is Gone.”

 

Sunday Music — Lucinda Williams performing “The Ghosts of Highway 20”

Since I listened to an album entitled Sweet Old World, I have been mesmerized by the gritty and poetic music of Lucinda Williams. At this point in her musical life, her torn and ragged voice fits perfectly with the subjects of her story-songs.  She has slowly worked toward being among the pantheon of the American folk tradition, updating a traditional form to fit in with our modern world.  Even when singing the blues, her songs are uplifting and full of hope and determination.  She records both the shortcomings and fulfillments of the American experience, the universal desire for human dignity and freedom, and living a life of meaning.  She has a new album out and here she is on Nic Harcourt’s Transmissions (apparently the website is still under construction) singing the title song, “The Ghosts of Highway 20.”

Weekend Music — The Revivalists performing “Wish I Knew You”

The Revivalists are out of New Orleans.  They consist of David Shaw on vocals, Zack Feinberg on guitar, Ed Williams on the pedal steel, Rob Ingraham on saxophone, and a rhythm section consisting of Andrew Campanelli on drums, George Gekas on bass, and Michael Girardot on keys (and occasional trumpet).  The band has been around for eight years now, having its roots at the Big Easy’s Tipitina’s Sunday Workshops as well as bar/laundromat (yes…only in NOLA) Checkpoint Charlie’s open mic nights.  Their latest album is entitled Men Amongst Mountains.  Their music is exciting singular, iconoclastic modern rock/soul. Give them a listen.

Saturday Night Music Interlude — The Arcs performing “Put a Flower in Your Pocket,” “Outta My Mind,” and “Stay In My Corner.”

The Arcs are comprised of Dan Auerbach (of The Black Keys), Leon Michels, Richard Swift, Homer Steinweiss, and Nick Movshon, which is a side project of Auerbach while Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney recovers from an injury.  They released an album of bluesy soul, rock, rhythm & blues, and psychedelic rock on the 5th of this month entitled “Yours, Dreamily.”  Also on the album are guitarist Kenny Vaughan and Mariachi Flor de Toloache, a female Mariachi band.

 

Saturday Night Music — Whitehorse performing “Sweet Disaster”

Wow.  If some of the licks sound familiar it’s because you remember them from The Zombies’ “Time of the Season.”  Whitehorse consists of husband and wife Canadian singer/songwriters Melissa McClelland and Luke Douset.  Since forming Whitehorse in 2011 they have pursued solo careers, but in their collaborative effort they have established a unique sound of southern and country-and-western influenced North American roots music that feels as if it could be out of a modern western road movie.  Their latest album, Leave No Bridge Unburned, has already garnered rave reviews, following on the heels of their critically acclaimed album The Fate of the World Depends on This Kiss.  There is not a weak track on either offering.  Check them out.

Here is the official video release from Six Shooter Records.  You decide which version is better.

Saturday Music Interlude — Fly Golden Eagle performing “Stepping Stone”

Fly Golden Eagle

Fly Golden Eagle consists of vocalist/guitarist Ben Trimble, keyboardist Mitch Jones, bass guitarist Matt Shaw, and drummer Richard Harper.  They are out Nashville and are part of a scene from Nashville’s Andrija Tokic’s Bomb Shelter which includes alumni Alabama Shakes, Hurray for the Riff Raff, among others.  Despite the Nashville moniker they are an eclectic group with Trimble coming to Nashville via Detroit, Shaw out of Celeste, Texas, Jones from Knoxville, and Harper from Huntsville, Alabama.  They are in the tradition of the American garage band, playing what the critics are calling psych-funk, though their latest sound seems to transcend that pigeonhole to include rock-and-roll, psychedelic rock, blues, glam–you name it.  Their latest album, their second, just came out in October titled Quartz Bijou, comprises that musical mix.  Here they are performing “Stepping Stone.”