[follow id = “kttrom”]
Country music legend Willie Nelson is coming to the Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center on April 8 at 7:30 p.m.
The “Willie Nelson and Family” show combines the musical talent of Willie and his children for a night of songs that have helped shaped the country genre into what it is today.
“His music is iconic,” Cal Poly Arts Director Steve Lerian said. “When you think of country music, Willie Nelson is virtually the first name that comes to mind.”
Some of his hits include “Crazy,” “On the Road Again,” “Whisky River” and “Always on My Mind.”
His 200-plus albums over a 60-year career have given him an extensive catalog to choose from. Nelson has dabbled in more than just country music, also recording songs in folk, jazz, and the standards.
“He has had a varied career,” Lerian said. “He is connected with many of the greatest artists of the last generation to produce some really magical music.”
His April 2013 album, Let’s Face the Music and Dance, features duets with some of music’s top female singers, including Dolly Parton, Mavis Staples, Wynonna Judd and Sheryl Crow.
Not only has Nelson recorded with countless country superstars, he’s also traveled with them.
The Highwaymen, a country supergroup composed of Nelson, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson traveled around the nation and made its mark on the outlaw country subgenre.
“He is a total road warrior, and he tours a lot of months out of the year,” Lerian said. “He is out there for weeks at a time, playing one day after another.”
Nelson’s son, Lukas Nelson, traveled with his father and The Highwaymen.
“I was born basically on the road,” Lukas said. “When I was about 11 or 12, I started playing the guitar and writing music. I got good at it quickly and I started singing with the band since I was 14, as soon as I was good enough to get on stage.”
Lukas now has his own band, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, which is opening the show on Tuesday.
His own music is more American rock than country, but he can’t avoid being influenced by his dad’s music, he said.
“My dad is a product of what he grew up around, and so am I,” Lukas said. “He absorbed what he listened to and he created his own music out of that. That’s what I have done with my music, taken a little bit of my dad and a little bit of the rock and roll world that I love so much and meshed them together.”
Lukas Nelson gets the opportunity to play music with both his father and sisters Paula and Amy, who also have their own bands. Almost the whole family is musically inclined, including Lukas’ aunt Bobbie, who plays the piano in Willie’s band.
“I love my family very much,” Lukas said. “I feel like I have the perfect family. Any chance we can get together is a good time.”
Willie and the family will be playing all of the favorite hits along with some of his newer hits.
“I like when dad sings ‘Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground,'” Lukas said. “That is one of my favorite moments of his show. I don’t really play much on that song, just rhythm, but I just think he does it really well every night. This show is like the head of the train — it makes the loudest noise, it keeps chugging along. We are all cars in the train that he is leading.”
Tickets are nearly sold out and can be bought at the Cal Poly Arts website.