Record Of The Week # 143

Lukas Nelson & The Power Of The Real – Sticks and Stones

Lukas Nelson may have been a recording artist for over a decade but it’s only recently that he’s become a commercial success after some excellent albums. His stature is also helped by his involvement in the box office smash film A Star Is Born, whether song writing or co-producing the music soundtrack. Recent releases have been lighter shades of rock with great musicianship; he can really cook up a storm on six strings. I can’t recollect him recording traditional country music up until now despite his gold-plated family heritage.

These 12 self penned tracks eschew the chart Nashville country sound and place the album in the 60s or 70s with instrumentation and lyrics.  The arrangements are crisp and short. Nelson now has the stature to make a call and Lainey Wilson joins him on More Than Friends. Given how Wilson’s own career is currently soaring she’s quite a catch. The song has the pair of them playing lovers over a chugging rock arrangement; their voices blend well.

The whole album engages from the Southern rock start of Sticks and Stones to the Hank William’s pastiche Icarus. The songveers in parts a little close to Hey, Good Lookin’, but I can forgive any song that manages to incorporate Greek mythology into a lyric. The latest single, Alcohallelujah, has a rousing chorus (and I note father Willie has been dragged out to knock back a shot for the Instagram promotion.) It’s a summer song with a feel good vibe and catchy chorus. Wrong House is beautifully left field as the protagonist, off his face, ends up repeatedly in the wrong house and needs to ring to get a lift back to where he belongs. The rhythm is rapid with a call and response chorus and some aching guitar signatures. Top drawer.

Not all of it races along and Lying is a slower regretful love song. Nelson’s voice is fabulous as he accompanies himself on acoustic guitar. All Four Winds has a Glen Campbell sound with a trailing harmonica providing a long lens cinematic sound before he starts picking some exquisite acoustic guitar. The View is another plain arrangement with Nelson and an acoustic guitar. The lyric refers to the gaze he places on his love.

It’s unimaginable that this won’t rightly receive a lot of critical acclaim. It’s a wonderful release and heartening for the genre that a major artist releases something as authentic and crafted as this.

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