They say luck ain’t got nothin’ to do with it. Well, I couldn’t disagree more. You can’t help but feel that you got lucky, being in Willie Nelson’s backyard for an experience as incredible as the Luck Reunion. There’s something downright magical about Nelson’s ranch out in Luck, Texas, and the self-described “boutique festival” that for us, topped just about anything at SXSW.
This place is special, and people are excited to be here, to be part of the family, if only for a day. From my first moments driving into the ranch, the place welcomes you with its magic – even the parking guide had her Willie on, sporting her bandana, braids and all and greeting us with a big, warm smile.
The whole scene is like something out of a Wild West movie, and rightfully so, as it was originally built as the set for film, Red Headed Stranger. Four stages around the property featured an incredible roster of who’s who in the outlaw world of Country. The intimate fest stays true to its aim “to celebrate the legacies still among us, while lifting up the new crop of individuals who share a respect for those who blazed the trails before them.”
Folks, I’m talkin about Aaron Lee Tasjan, Margot Price and special guests Shovels and Rope. I’m talkin from Parker Millsap to Connor Oberst and Friends to the Texas Gentlemen with special guests, including Ray Wylie Hubbard and Jonathan Tyler.
Day became dusk, and the picturesque ranch transforms into a golden, ethereal place combing the long-ago and the right-now, much like the music lineup and the festival-goers themselves.
As he loves to do, Willie brings his family into the mix. Opening for him was his extremely talented son, Lucas Nelson, with his band, Promise of the Real. There’s no mistaking the family relation (that voice!) but Lucas and crew really hold their own.
The highlight, of course, was the man himself, the loveable, legendary Willie Nelson. As the crowd gathered together, Willie treated us all to a good old-fashioned sing-a-long of all his hits, while also paying tribute to his longtime friends and legends, the late Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings. It was a night to remember (or to forget, depending on how frequently one partook of the open bars).
The happiest place on earth? You may say yes, you may say no, but personally? I sure as shit know that Disney ain’t got nothin on Willie.