The inspiration for the name of the band Promise of the Real comes from the Neil Young song “Walk On”, specifically the line “Some get stoned, some get strange / Sooner or later, it all gets real”. Well, “sooner or later” is here, in the sense that Promise of the Real played with Young on his latest album The Monsanto Years, and is now on tour with him.
On their own, Promise of the Real – led by singer/guitarist Lukas Nelson, who is the son of country music legend Willie Nelson – has been creating buzz since their first album came out in 2010, and a new album is on the way in a few months. This interview with Lukas was for a preview article for the Neil Young / Promise of the Real concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl on 10/10/15. It was done by phone on 10/1/15. (Jim Eckenrode photo)
Neal Casal is the lead guitarist for The Chris Robinson Brotherhood, fronted by singer Chris Robinson of Black Crowes fame. The CRB has played over two hundred live shows since forming a few years ago, and has three studio albums out, including 2014’s Phosphorescent Harvest.
Before joining the CRB, Casal played with Ryan Adams & The Cardinals, including on the albums Easy Tiger and Cardinology, plus Willie Nelson’s 2006 album Songbird. Casal has also released a number of solo albums, most recently 2012’s Sweeten the Distance.
This interview was for a preview article for the Chris Robinson Brotherhood concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl on 7/3/14, for which they shared the bill with Bob Weir & RatDog. The interview was done by phone on 6/19/14. (John Margaretten photo)
Booker T. Jones has had an astounding career in music, as part of Booker T. & the M.G.’s and beyond.
With the M.G.’s, he had hits in the 1960’s with instrumentals including the timeless “Green Onions”, “Hang ‘Em High”, and “Time Is Tight”. The band also backed an amazing collection of artists on the legendary Stax Records, such as Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, and Albert King.
Jones also co-wrote notable songs for other artists including “Born Under A Bad Sign”, “I Love You More Than Words Can Say”, and “I’ve Never Found a Girl (To Love Me Like You Do)”. Moreover, he produced records by Willie Nelson, Bill Withers, and Rita Coolidge, and he played with musicians including Stephen Stills and Bob Dylan. Booker T. & the M.G.’s were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, and Jones received a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement in 2007.
This interview was done by phone on 8/8/13 for a preview article for the Memphis Music Fest at the Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara on 8/23/13. (Piper Ferguson photo)
Before Kinky Friedman became a best-selling author of mystery novels, or ran for the Governor of Texas as an Independent in 2006 (coming in fourth out of six candidates), he recorded some of the funniest country music ever committed to tape. His best known songs include “They Ain’t Makin’ Jews Like Jesus Anymore”, “Ride ‘Em Jewboy”, and “Get Your Biscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in the Bed”, which aren’t exactly hymns to political correctness, but they probably will make you laugh, and might even make you think.
This interview was done by phone on 11/26/12, and was for a preview article for Friedman’s shows on 12/8/12 at the Maverick Saloon in Santa Ynez, California, and on 12/9/12 at Zoey’s Cafe in Ventura California. (Larry Pullen photo)
Photos by L. Paul Mann: Willie Nelson at Santa Barbara Bowl, 9/23/10, with opener Ryan Bingham and the Dead Horses.