Magic points come about in Luck, Texas.
“How the hell am I supposed to do anything at all immediately after that?” gushed Tami Neilson, a New Zealand singer-songwriter who’d just sung a song onstage with Willie Nelson in the course of the yearly Luck Reunion very last month at Nelson’s ranch in Spicewood. Inside of weeks, that song, “Outside of the Stars,” was launched as Neilson’s new one, finish with a movie she filmed throughout the festival that captured her particular minute onstage with Willie. She was in Luck, without a doubt.
2022 marked the Reunion’s 10th anniversary, and its creators preferred to celebrate the event by growing actions at the ranch past just that after-a-year showcase. And so we now have Luck Provides, a fledgling concert marketing business run by a handful of songs market mavericks with direct ties to the Nelson spouse and children and a vision to make a musical oasis which is “Just Outside of Austin” — as Willie’s son Lukas Nelson described Luck in a track bearing that title.
This kind of places in Central Texas are not uncommon, of training course. Willie’s pal Waylon Jennings created Luckenbach globe-famed when he recorded a music title-examining the tiny Hill Country hamlet in the 1970s, shortly soon after Jerry Jeff Walker experienced recorded his landmark “Viva Terlingua” stay album there. And plenty of Austinites have headed an hour south on Interstate 35 to show up at displays at the 145-yr-outdated Gruene Hall in the vicinity of New Braunfels.
But Luck has something distinctive, a little something unique. This is Willie Nelson’s residence turf, the remains of a movie set constructed for his 1980s movie “Red Headed Stranger.” Initially, the established was to be burned in a fire that was aspect of the story, but the script was adjusted when Willie grew attached to the Aged West buildings that bundled a saloon, a article workplace and a chapel.
Rapidly-forward a number of decades — very long more than enough for Nelson’s grand-niece, Ellee Fletcher Durniak, to be born and then come of age as a New York fashion faculty graduate turned budding music entrepreneur. While in New York, she satisfied Matt Bizer at a exhibit by short-lived but influential Austin band the Dedringers.
Before prolonged, she and Bizer were arranging a South by Southwest day celebration in Austin for the Dedringers and other bands. But Durniak — whose father, Freddy Fletcher, is the son of Willie’s late sister and pianist, Bobbie Nelson — experienced developed up on Willie’s expansive acreage, so it was probably only all-natural that her views turned to the Luck Ranch.
How Luck Reunion received started off
At dinner just one night time with Willie and his wife, Annie, they broached the subject matter. “It was like a pitch shot in the dark: ‘Would you let us use the home?’” Durniak remembers. “And they had been like, ‘Yeah, just get a permit.’”
Bizer, who’d not long ago created up a film-crew resume in Texas on assignments these kinds of as Turk Pipkin’s Christmas story “When Angels Sing,” did not consider it could quite possibly be that very simple. “I thought it was a joke,” he suggests with a chuckle. “And then a couple of months later on, Ellee and I had been talking, and she was like, ‘How’s it all coming with the arranging?’
“I understood really swiftly, which is how they run. If you are aspect of the family or you’re in that conversation, all of a sudden you’re accomplishing one thing.”
Durniak and Bizer organized their first present at Luck Ranch through SXSW 2012. For a couple several years, it was called the Heartbreaker Banquet, in conjunction with other associates who finally departed. By 2016, the party had been re-christened the Luck Reunion. Regardless of a big rainstorm that yr, which halted the audio for many several hours, the occasion was a big accomplishment, making excitement that set the Reunion on the map as a sought-following SXSW end for numerous well known performers and growing stars.
Just after a 2019 function that bundled the initial Austin-location exhibit for Yola, who’d quickly be nominated for best new artist at the Grammys, Bizer and Durniak commenced brainstorming for an 2020 expansion that would incorporate extra demonstrates through SXSW’s 2nd weekend. The pandemic grounded all of that, even though the Luck Provides crew managed to pull jointly a makeshift but fascinating livestreamed Reunion that involved digital performances by everyone from Neil Young and Paul Simon to Orville Peck and Courtney Barnett.
Their ideas last but not least took root this year. Following the regular Thursday reunion, Luck booked reveals with Americana luminaries Jason Isbell on Friday and Shakey Graves on Saturday. A late increase was a Sunday general performance by landlord Willie Nelson, who also played a 2nd present the following weekend.
Future up is a Friday concert by Pacific Northwest indie-rock band Modest Mouse, an indication that Luck Provides is a lot more than keen to get the job done further than the outlaw country/Americana borders most frequently linked with the Nelson spouse and children. And they not too long ago declared an Oct. 1 overall look by theatrical rockers Flaming Lips. [Update, April 27: The Modest Mouse show has been postponed after frontman Isaac Brock tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week.]
But there’s also still space for stuff which is proper down the centre of the strike zone. That is why Willie, who turns 89 on April 29, is established to stick to up Friday-Saturday exhibits with George Strait at Austin’s new Moody Middle by having part in a Sunday birthday tribute at Luck Ranch that will also characteristic performances by Margo Cost, Nathaniel Rateliff, Robert Earl Keen, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Vincent Neil Emerson and host Bruce Robison.
There’s much more to come. In addition to the Flaming Lips concert, Durniak and Bizer are planning a sequence of reveals this drop that they’ve tentatively dubbed Lucktoberfest. Performers have not still been introduced, but Luck Presents’ track report to day virtually assures a slate of high-quality bookings.
What can make Luck exclusive
Durniak claims that this year’s program likely will amount of money to around a dozen demonstrates complete. That variety could be larger upcoming calendar year, but she and Bizer really don’t seem to be to have a unique concentrate on in thoughts. “We choose the persons we want,” Durniak says. “It’s acts that we seriously want to have out there.”
Part of what has created the Reunion these types of a success is a willingness to choose chances on up-and-coming functions. The lone constant is Willie, who headlines the demonstrate with his Family members band significantly like he does with his fifty percent-century-aged Fourth of July Picnic. But whereas the Picnic tends to concentration on founded functions and longtime Willie compadres, the Reunion is far more in the spirit of audio discovery.
This year’s edition was a primary case in point. Yes, there were being a pair of Picnic-styled bookings: Isbell was a unique visitor at the Reunion in addition to enjoying his own Luck demonstrate the following night time, and the 1970s-period Lost Gonzo Band provided a connection to Willie’s outlaw country glory decades. But the Reunion’s most unforgettable moments arrived from climbing stars such as Allison Russell and Japanese Breakfast — both equally of whom scored “Austin City Limits” Television tapings this spring — and Danielle Ponder, who would seem poised for a breakout identical to Yola’s 2019 minute.
Luck’s capability to scout and existing these kinds of talent is largely a make any difference of “making positive to appear just about every put, and preserving that door open,” Bizer claims. “We like to just consider to increase up whatever we can out below. … Japanese Breakfast was of course not the initial (act) you’d feel of taking part in Luck, But for us, it really is actually enjoyment to expose individuals to (artists) like that.”
There is a precedent for these types of attempts at setting up bridges concerning audiences in the environment of Willie. “What most people talks about all the time in Austin is like, ‘Oh, he united the hippies and the cowboys,” Bizer suggests. “But we don’t think consciously (about that). The music, and the diversity of people who are attracted to that audio, is what produces it. We make a space wherever all people is acknowledged, and you just overlook about it when you happen to be there.”
And so, even with extra concert events remaining added on the assets that really do not include Willie’s onstage participation, his spirit operates as a result of every thing that comes about at Luck Ranch. Without a doubt, what can make this spot most special is only that it is Nelson’s house turf, and that he’s inclined to share it.
“There’s just a joy that surrounds his sets when he is out there,” Durniak states. “I feel it really is a perception of satisfaction. He pulls up in his pickup truck, suitable up to the backstage, and just struts on. I can not speak for him, but I assume he has the time of his lifestyle. I’ve viewed a million Willie reveals, but there is certainly one thing distinctive about him onstage at Luck.”
If you go to Luck Ranch
Friday: Modest Mouse with the Cribs, 7 p.m. (doorways at 5:30 p.m.), $55 typical admission ($125 VIP), $40 ranch parking move (UPDATE: This show has been postponed right after frontman Isaac Brock tested good for COVID-19 previously this week)
Sunday: Willie Nelson birthday celebration with host Bruce Robison moreover Margo Selling price, Nathaniel Rateliff, Robert Earl Keen, Ray Wylie Hubbard and Vincent Neil Emerson, 7 p.m. (5:30 p.m. doors), $35 general admission ($150 VIP), $40 ranch parking pass, $50 shuttle from Austin’s Arlyn Studios
Oct. 1: Flaming Lips, 7 p.m. (doors at 5:30 p.m.), $47.50 normal admission ($125 VIP)
Parking/shuttles: $40 parking at ranch $50 shuttle from Austin’s Arlyn Studios
Handle: 1100 Bee Creek Highway in Spicewood
A lot more info: luckpresents.com