Lukas Nelson & Promise of The Real are back – while Nelson is regarded as a great songwriter, his band project released their fifth album on 14th June 2019. The name, Turn Off The News (Build A Garden), feels promising. As I admire Nelson for his music, I just had to review the album, which was released in parallel to Bruce Springsteen’s masterpiece Western Stars.
Lukas Nelson & PoTR- About
It is very hard to give some biographic information on Lukas Nelson without naming his legendary father, Willie Nelson. I saw Lukas the first time live on stage during the 2018 Country 2 Country in London. He fascinated me with his songs Forget about Georgia and Just outside of Austin – I chose the latter one as one of my favorite songs of the whole festival.
Nelson and his band, Promise of the Real (often short: POTR or PoTR) started in 2007 with an EP called Live Beginnings. It took some albums before the band reached the US charts, but the last album, named after the combo itself, reached #2 in the Billboard album country charts in 2017. They also act as the band of Bradley Cooper in A Star is Born (see my posting on Shallow-ism).
Turn Off The News (Build A Garden) – Track by Track
The album features 13 songs. The last two tracks are bonus tracks, though. Turn Off The New (Build A Garden) lasts 51 minutes. It has a lot of contributors like Neal Young, Sheryl Crow or Willie Nelson.
1. Bad Case
In my point of view, the first track of the album is already a reason to love it. Very catchy and a strong chorus:
You’ve got a bad case of wanting what you can’t have
Must be a terrible feeling
I can’t help you anymore
Aw, you’re too far gone
2. Turn Off The News (Build A Garden)
Even more than the first track, the title track had a touch of Tom Petty to me. Very nicely flowing melody. If one wonders what the song is about, the chorus gives a quite clear message – great song!
Turn off the news and build a garden
Just my neighborhood and me
We might feel a bit less hardened
We might feel a bit more free
Turn off the news and raise your kids
Give them something to believe in
Teach them how to be good people
Give them hope that they can see
Hope that they can see
Turn off the news and build a garden with me
3. Where Does Love Go
The beginning of this track reminds me of the Beach Boys with a touch of German summer schlager. However, the text is highly sarcastic and end in the following chorus
Oh where does love go
Where does love go
Where does love go when it dies?
4. Save A Little Heartache
Another track in which Lukas Nelson proofs that he can amazingly combine catching melodies with precise, ironic and catchy lyrics. This track may be reasonable background music for your kitchen – but is much more amazing if you actively listen to the lyrics.
5. Lotta Fun
There are not many artists who can start a song with the following words
Life is heaven, life is hell
Better keep movin’ ’cause you might as well
I don’t trust computers anymore
Gonna buy a little weed in the marijuana store
Lukas Nelson definitely can do that. A nice swinging country melody underlying
6. Civilized Hell
When I listened to Civilized Hell, I felt more and more sure that the album could be a real masterpiece. I just love this guy. He tells stories his way… A way others would not dare to do it!
The tracks are getting more and more classic-country alike. Mystery is a bit more in the background compared to the tracks before, but a nice track.
8. Simple Life
A simple track about Simple Life, for example
I think you worry too much, baby
You might be a little too afraid to fly
Do a little less thinkin’, baby
You don’t need to know the answers why
Sounds very traditional and thus also very nice to listen to.
9. Out In LA
I like Out in LA due to its catching melody. Lukas Nelson here tells the story of a love too far away.
I can see her shining
As my memory fades away
I’m in love with a girl and she’s out in LA
Even quite rock-alike at the end, nice one!
10. Something Real
I got so reeled in seeing what’s waiting
And you really started bringing it in
So many lies, I can’t ever reach you
But you’re just like me, you’re just a name in a picture frame
The lyrics feel a bit sick (here: the first verse), but the country-rock style makes it catchy. Quite simple lyrics, but a nice picture language:
I wanna see you get mad
I wanna feel like you’re crying for me
Give me something real, babe
Give me something real, babe
11. Stars Made Of You
When it seems like the moon is silently crying
When it seems like the clouds are hiding her eyes
When it seems like the wind is the whole world sighing
When stars made of you fall from the sky
No comment. Just smile.
12. Turn Off The News (Build A Garden) (Acoustic)
The title track in a nice acoustic version. Nice bonus track.
13. Consider It Heaven
No irony or sarcasm, the final track is a beautiful love song. One of my favorites on this album.
Lukas Nelson & PoTR – Turn Off The News – My View
If you combine the sick ideas of Weird Al Yankovic with country music and mix it with a lot of talent… You might come close to Turn Off The News (Build A Garden). That is how the album is starting before there are also some very serious tracks. Lukas Nelson & Promise of The Real produced an really nice album, which even feels like a great album in some parts. Definitely a good buy!
With these links, you may download or physically buy this masterpiece.
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