For the eighth year, Willie Nelson and his family hosted the Luck Reunion on their ranch in Spicewood, Texas, located about 40 minutes west of Austin. A Western-style “town” was built on the ranch nearly 40 years ago which was used as the set to Nelson’s 1946 film Red Headed Stranger.
It acts as
Festival organizers are extremely guarded with the day’s schedule, a move they hope encourages attendees to explore the grounds
The label’s day began with a lot of new music from Dylan LeBlanc. No longer simply backed by The Pollies on tour, the 29-year-old just released a single from his forthcoming album. He promises a much edgier rock sound for his first effort since 2016’s Cautionary Tale and if the performance was any indication, the band will deliver. It was pleasantly aggressive, and the contrast of what the band displayed against the chapel’s quaint and naturally spiritual vibe was something that continued through the set of Nicole Atkins and Jim Sclavunos, also on Single Lock. The duo finished their set with a cover of Patti Smith’s “Pissing in a River” in which Atkins channeled Smith’s angst, heading into the chapel pews and shouting to the heavens, “Come come come…”
Cedric Burnside from Holly Springs, Mississippi closed the day on the chapel stage for Single Lock, fresh off his Grammy nomination for Best Traditional Blues Album. Burnside is the grandson of the late R.L. Burnside and if there is currently an heir to the genre’s throne, no one seems more capable to take it. The 40-year-old is creating authentic North Mississippi hill country blues unlike anyone else in his generation. With that nomination and Single Lock’s support, he’s slowly beginning to reach new audiences unaware that kind of authenticity still exists.
Other highlights included Low Cut Connie, Carll
The night closed at the World Headquarters Stage, or the main stage, with Paul Nelson and Jesse Dayton, Particle Kid (Micah Nelson), Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real and Willie Nelson and Family mostly unopposed by music on other stages. Lukas spent much of the set backing his father, who worked his way through most all of the familiar hits (“On the Road Again,” “Always on My Mind” and the opening number, “Whiskey River”).
It’s Texas so no one can legally purchase Willie’s Reserve, though there were plenty of opportunities to purchase mementos of his famous marijuana strain. But one thing that the Nelson family and festival organizers execute flawlessly is promoting the spirit of the Nelsons. Lucky for us, no one is a hurry at Luck. That’s by design. Enjoy the escape from Austin.