Austin360 On The Record: Willie Nelson & sons, Porter & the Bluebonnet Rattlesnakes

Willie Nelson with Lukas Nelson, center, and Micah Nelson, left, at Pedernales Studio in Spicewood. Contributed/Greg Giannukos

OUT THIS WEEK

Willie, Lukas & Micah Nelson, “Willie and the Boys: Willie’s Stash, Vol. 2” (Legacy). The first volume in this loosely structured “Willie’s Stash” series of archival recordings, 2014’s “December Day,” featured siblings Willie & Bobbie Nelson on songs that placed Bobbie’s piano playing front-and-center with Willie’s singing. Now comes another family affair, as Willie’s youngest sons Lukas and Micah join him for a dozen tracks that emphasize their vocal interplay. Initially recorded at Pedernales Recording Studio in Spicewood as part of the sessions for Willie’s 2011 “Heroes” album, these tracks featured a cast of Austin and Nashville musicians backing Willie and Lukas, with Micah’s vocals added later. All three of them are fine singers; if Willie remains the most distinctive, Lukas isn’t far off, often sounding eerily like a younger version of his father. Micah’s voice is slightly less twangy and more plainspoken, but quite pleasant and effective in its own way. When they join in three-part harmony, there’s the kind of natural magic that has long been ingrained in classic country music history, dating back to the Carter Family and beyond. It’s fitting, then, that almost all the material here is decades old, coming mostly from the pens of four Hanks: Williams, Cochran, Locklin and Snow. They might sound best of all on “Healing Hands of Time,” the lone Willie original in the batch. As the lead vocal passes from Willie to Lukas to Micah, it’s as if those hands of time are being passed into the future, more than a half-century after the song was written. Willie Nelson & Family, along with Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, play Dec. 29-31 at ACL Live. Here’s the video for Cochran’s “Send Me the Pillow You Dream On”:

Porter & the Bluebonnet Rattlesnakes, “Don’t Go Baby, It’s Gonna Get Weird Without You” (Cornelius Chapel). Songwriter/guitarist Chris Porter, bassist Mitchell Vandenburg and drummer Adam Nurre had finished recording this album in 2016 shortly before Porter and Vandenburg were killed and Nurre was seriously injured in a North Carolina highway crash while the band was on tour a year ago this week. With the help of friends, family and fellow musicians who played on the sessions — including Centro-Matic’s Will Johnson, the Mastersons’ Chris Masterson and Eleanor Whitmore, and former Drive-By Truckers bassist Shonna Tucker — the album has been completed and released in memory of Porter and Vandenburg. Mixing rootsy country-folk and hard-driving rock ’n’ roll, Porter and his bandmates deliver 11 unflinchingly honest and emotionally riveting songs here, from the desolate vignette of “Your Hometown” to the lover’s lament of “Go on and Leave Me” to unhinged abandon of “East December.” The album will be played in full over the club’s sound system at Stay Gold on Oct. 21, along with performances by the Mastersons, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Bonnie Whitmore, Carson McHone, Garner Sloan, Ben Ballinger, Graham Weber, Hank Erwin, Drew Carman and Haydon Hoodoo. Here’s a live video of the song “Go On and Leave Me,” recorded by Porter, Vandenburg and Nurre in 2016:

Jimmie Vaughan Trio featuring Mike Flanigin, “Live at C-Boy’s” (Proper). We reviewed this one last month We upon the previously scheduled Sept. 22 release date, before it got moved to Oct. 20. Guitarist Vaughan, B3 organist Flanigin and drummer George Rains will celebrate Oct. 21-22 at C-Boy’s, where they often perform on Fridays and Saturdays when not on the road. Here’s fan video of a 2015 gig at C-Boy’s:

Tommy Howard, “Storybook” (Destiny). Ten-song debut from the jazz guitarist who plays with Elias Haslanger’s renowned Church on Monday Band, recorded in a trio format with bassist Daniel Durham and drummer Brandon Guerra. Release show Oct. 22 at Elephant Room. Here’s the track “In Paris in Love”:

Mooks, “Side 2” EP. The rock ‘n’ roll quintet’s follow-up to their 2012 EP “Side 1” was produced by James Stevens and features lead singer-guitarist Rick Smith, lead guitarist Erick Huebner, bassist Ron McRae and drummer Mike Middleton. In-store Oct. 22 at Antone’s Records Shop.

READ MORE: Check out our recent Austin360 On The Record roundups

COMING SOON

  • NOV. 1: Brian Pounds, “Southern Writer,” release show Nov. 16 at Cactus Cafe.
  • NOV. 3: Drew Kennedy, “At Home in the Big Lonesome,” playing Dec. 12 at Gruene Hall.
  • NOV. 17: Reveleros, self-titled, release show Nov. 17 at Good Shepherd on the Hill.
  • NOV. 24: Sour Notes, “Darkest Sour,” release show Nov. 24 at Hotel Vegas.

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