The Word For Luck Reunion Is – WOW!!!
I was a lucky (pun intended) person indeed to have traveled to Austin for Willie Nelson’s Luck Reunion earlier this month. I knew artists who performed there in past years and always regretted not being there, but finally got the chance this year.
This one-day event is held in Willie’s backyard (if it can be said that a ranch was a backyard) with only 2,000 tickets sold, so everyone who attends is lucky.
The day could not have been more glorious; about 80 degrees, not a cloud in the sky, a slight breeze, a cool but comfortable evening, and great vibes! The ‘code of conduct’ is “Don’t Be An Asshole” which people certainly took to heart.
We were all there for the music and that was the most glorious part of the day. With five stages, there were hard choices to be made but no matter which sets one saw, they were in for a treat. I thoroughly enjoyed every set I saw!
The first set of the day was Brandy Zdan, a Nashville-based rocker, on the Mavis Staples ‘Stronger’ Stage which featured only women (although there were men in the bands, the bands were all fronted by women).
This was my first time seeing her performing her own music (I believe I have seen her in Nashville performing with other artists at AmericanaFest), and I was glad to be wearing my dancing shoes!
Next to the Stronger Stage was Sunny War, an artist who was brought to my attention last year so I was excited to finally see her perform.
She unfortunately was suffering from a bad cold that she said was impacting her voice. If that was her ‘bad’ voice, I can’t wait to see her when she’s feeling 100%! I thought she sounded wonderful, as did everyone in the audience.
Her style is blues/funk/folk according to her Facebook page; I heard mostly blues and folk in her beautiful songs. I will see her again!
Since I had time between sets, I wandered over to the Revival Tent and saw E.B. the Younger who I thought was unfamiliar to me but I read that he was with Midlake, a band I saw open for Neil Finn almost five years ago and liked. No wonder I enjoyed the part of his set I saw!
This indie rocker impressed me with both his vocals and his songwriting; he also had a great band with him.
On the Stronger Stage after Sunny War was Yola, an artist about whom I heard many extremely positive things (she will appear at the Newport Folk Festival this summer). She amazed me!
I read that she is the “Queen of Country Soul” and I think that is an apt description of her style. Possessed of an incredibly soulful voice, she had the crowd hanging on every note.
She is based in Britain where a large number of Americana artists thrive! I hope she travels to the US – or even moves here – so I can see her often! Watch for her – she is a star on the rise!
Yes, Willie’s Reserve had a presence at Luck! Are you surprised?
I walked over to the World Headquarters Stage, which was considered the main stage, to see Matthew Logan Vasquez, one of the members of Glorietta (the one-tour-and-done band that delivered my favorite concert of 2018) and also co-founder of Delta Spirit.
I was thrilled that, not only did he play a couple of Glorietta songs that I know well, his Glorietta bandmate Kelsey Wilson joined him for one of those songs!
When MLV announced that he is moving back to Texas this year, he received great applause from the crowd! He is doing a tour this spring, and I recommend you see him if he appears in a town near you.
I was able to catch part of Haley Heynderickx‘s set while meandering from the World Headquarters Stage to the Revival Tent. Her last name is pronounced the same as Jimi Hendrix (I mistakenly thought she said she was his granddaughter – she is not).
Appearing solo, she established an easy rapport with the audience. I enjoyed her acoustic blues/folk songs and look forward to her début at Newport Folk Festival this year.
Sometimes when almost everyone I know is bowled over by a band I am disappointed because I have high expectations. That was not the case with Low Cut Connie, a band that was one of the darlings of last year’s Newport Folk Festival. I loved their set!
One of the highest-energy sets I have ever seen, their infectious brand of rock and roll had the crowd almost in a frenzy! Adam Weiner, the lead singer, pranced across the stage and through the crowd to the delight of everyone close enough to get a hug or an “I love you” from him.
The rest of the band is also excellent and high-energy. Go see them when the are appearing anywhere near you! If you are disappointed, don’t tell me!
I remained at the Revival Tent to see one of my very favorite artists (and a truly lovely person), Langhorne Slim and the Law. I know I missed other musicians who I had not seen, but I could not bring myself to miss this set.
He is one of the most emotional performers I have ever seen. He wrote a song for one of his grandfathers, “Song for Sid”, that he plays at every show (or at least almost all his shows). I always put down my camera while he sings it because it is too intimate a moment to photograph.
They have a special connection with their audiences that is evident whenever Langhorne climbs over the rail and sings while wandering through the crowd.
The 30-minute set was way too short for my taste, but they were able to perform a number of my favorite songs. This is another band I hate to miss when they are near me.
The last artist on the Stronger Stage was none other than its namesake, Miss Mavis Staples! Turning 80 in a few months, she delivered one of the finest performances I have experienced from her.
Yes, she’s still a gospel singer, but she is one of the most soulful singers I have ever seen. I was a lucky recipient of at least three smiles from her while I was in the photo pit; my heart was so warmed by that.
Backed by her band of many years (or at least most of the years I have seen her), she sang a number of her standards including “I’ll Take You There” and “The Weight”.
In the middle of the set, Nathaniel Rateliff joined her for a couple of songs; I was thrilled because his solo set occurred during part of Mavis’ set so I was able to see him.
At the end of the set (which was “The Weight”), most if not all the women who appeared on that stage during the day joined her. What an amazing finale to an incredible set from Mavis and a fabulous day of great women musicians on the Stronger Stage!
I heard most of Hayes Carll‘s set although I did not take pictures because I got there too late to get a good spot to shoot from. I have seen him solo a few times but this was the first time I saw him with a full band and I loved it! A little more country than I’ve heard from him, and it was great.
Back to the World Headquarters Stage I went to catch the last two sets of the day. It was packed by the time I got over there so I did not try to get to the photo pit (which was not available for Willie’s set at all anyway).
Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real is a terrific band that I’ve seen a number of times and always love seeing.
Lukas may rock a bit more these days than his father does, but he is 55 years younger! There are times I close my eyes and am not sure if I’m listening to Lukas or Willie…
The final act of the day was Willie. He and his family band (which includes sister Bobbie and sons Lukas and Micah) performed his classic songs which is exactly what the crowd wanted to hear.
Willie may be almost 86 but his guitar playing is still strong and his voice as lovely as ever. How wonderful of him to invite us to his home for a day of extremely fine music.
There were a number of artists I wanted to see but did not for a variety of reasons. Cedric Burnside and Billy Strings were on the Chapel Stage, and I decided not to wait on line to try to get into the Chapel. Steve Earle was up against Mavis, and since I saw Steve last month I opted for Mavis. Bonnie Bishop, Logan Ledger, The Cactus Blossoms and The Marcus King Band are a few of the others I missed. Let’s be honest – I would have been happy seeing every one of the artists there but I have not yet figured out how to be in five places at the same time.
This was one of the best music days I have had, and I have had a lot of them! I experienced only positivity all day long. I am already planning to go back next year!
Thanks to the Luck Reunion for the ticket; all opinions are my own.
Posted on March 24, 2019, in concert photos, concert reviews, festival photos, festival review, music, Uncategorized and tagged Brandy Zdan, concert photos, concert review, Hayes Carll, Langhorne Slim and the Law, Low Cut Connie, Luck Reunion, Luck Texas, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Mavis Staples, music, Sunny War, SXSW, Willie Nelson, Yola. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.