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Raelyn Nelson Band Joins the Farm Aid Line Up

Raleigh, N.C. — Gary Clark Jr., Todd Snider and the Raelyn Nelson Band will join Farm Aid at its annual benefit concert at Walnut Creek Amphitheatre on Saturday, Sept. 13, the organization announced today.

"Over the past 29 years, hundreds of artists have stood with family farmers and electrified Farm Aid audiences," said Farm Aid Executive Director Carolyn Mugar. "Farm Aid is proud to welcome these talented performers to our stage for the first time."

Gary Clark Jr., Todd Snider and the Raelyn Nelson Band join the already star-studded Farm Aid 2014 lineup, which features Farm Aid board members Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young and Dave Matthews — with Tim Reynolds — as well as Jack White, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Jamey Johnson, North Carolina's own Delta Rae, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Carlene Carter, Pegi Young & The Survivors, and Insects vs Robots.

Tickets for Farm Aid 2014 are available at, the Walnut Creek Amphitheatre box office, all Ticketmaster outlets or by phone at 800-745-3000.There are a limited number of tickets available.

The all-day music and food festival offers concert-goers family farm-identified, local and organic foods with its own HOMEGROWN Concessions® and hands-on activities in Farm Aid's HOMEGROWN Village.

Farm Aid is partnering with eBay and Auction Cause to offer concertgoers a chance to bid on premier concert experiences and autographed memorabilia beginning this Thursday, Aug. 14. For more information, go to Farm Aid is also teaming up with IfOnly to offer unique VIP Packages as well as autographed Gibson guitars to benefit Farm Aid. For more information, go to

Concertgoers can enhance their Farm Aid experience with the official Farm Aid 2014 mobile app, which will be available soon for iPhone and Android.

For concert updates, follow Farm Aid on Twitter (@farmaid) and on Facebook (, and visit

Farm Aid's mission is to build a vibrant, family farm-centered system of agriculture in America. Farm Aid artists and board members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews host an annual concert to raise funds to support Farm Aid's work with family farmers and to inspire people to choose family farm food. Since 1985, Farm Aid, with the support of the artists who contribute their performances each year, has raised more than $45 million to support programs that help farmers thrive, expand the reach of the Good Food Movement, take action to change the dominant system of industrial agriculture and promote food from family farms.


**Editors and Producers Note: Advance credentials are required for all media to attend Farm Aid 2014. Please visit by Thursday, Sept. 4, to apply. Media can download official Farm Aid photos and videos at**

Raelyn Nelson Forges Her Own Path: New EP

Raelyn Nelson Interview: Willie Nelson’s Granddaughter Forges Her Own Path for New EP

Raelyn NelsonTerry Wyatt, Getty Images

If you’re an aspiring country music artist, and your grandfather happens to be Willie Nelson, it might be easy to assume that you’ve got an easier road ahead of you. But that’s not necessarily the case.

Raelyn Nelson may have a famous last name, but she’s going through the same hard slog as every other singer-songwriter in Nashville. The Raelyn Nelson Band recently self-released their self-titled debut EP — which features a musical approach that’s been aptly described as “country garage rock” — and Nelson is making the rounds, knocking on doors, looking for gigs, fans and media support while working more than one job.

The EP marries Nelson’s more traditional country influences with the no-frills rock aesthetics of her band mates, producer/co-writer Jonathan Bright, Paulie Simmons and Preach Rutherford. It’s a long way from mainstream Music Row fare, but Nelson is doggedly determined to pursue her own path, not simply ride the coattails of her famous surname.

That said, one good thing about having Willie Nelson as your grandfather is, it probably makes it a little easier to score a guest appearance on your album. The country legend gives a vocal turn on ‘Moon Song,’ showing a very different side than his own albums would ever afford him the opportunity do to.

The Boot caught up with Raelyn Nelson recently to discuss the new album, her unusual mix of influences, the struggles and joys of being independent and much more in the following interview.

For more information about the Raelyn Nelson Band, visit their website. Preview their EP here, and download at from iTunes here.

How did this project come about?

A couple of years ago, I was writing some songs, and through a mutual friend I met J.B. — Jonathan Bright. I went over there just to put down some demos of what I was doing, and he said, “Do you want to write together?” And I said, “Yeah!” At that point I was just, I want to do whatever. I want to write, I want to play. Which I still am.

He said okay, so we started getting together and basically finishing the songs that I had started. Then we started writing songs from scratch together, and it kind of molded into what is now the Realyn Nelson Band, which is, he’s a lot of rock, and my vision comes from old country. So it’s kind of like those old country melodies, mixed with some dirty rockers backing me up, and me banging on a ukelele, trying to be heard over them. [Laughs].

The ukelele is an unusual choice. Is that your primary instrument?

Well, it’s funny, my grandpa gave me a guitar when I was 14. He gave me a Martin acoustic, and I started taking lessons and learned how to play. I played acoustic guitar all the way up until two years ago. J.B. had a ukelele project going at the time, and they were doing a Replacements covers album, all on ukelele, and so he was really into the ukelele, and he had a couple of them lying around. I picked it up, and he taught me the chords, and for some reason it just, I feel more comfortable playing the ukelele. I know I’ve only been playing it two years, but I would much rather pick up a ukelele and play that in front of people than pick up the guitar, even though I’ve been playing the guitar longer.

I still play guitar. When I go to write a song, I’ll pick up a guitar to hear the notes, but with the band I’d rather play the ukelele.

"I would call it a mix between Loretta Lynn and Cheap Trick. Kinda like Cheap Trick with a female singer. There’s a little bit of pop in it, and a lot of rock, and I’m the country in the band."

How would you describe the sound of your band? Your website calls it “country garage rock.”

Some critic called it that, and we liked it, so we went with it. I would call it a mix between Loretta Lynn and Cheap Trick. Kinda like Cheap Trick with a female singer. There’s a little bit of pop in it, and a lot of rock, and I’m the country in the band. My voice is definitely more of a country-sounding voice than a rocker. But I hope to be a rocker one day. [Laughs]. The guys in the band, when I say, “I’m a rock star! I’m a rocker!” They says, “No, you don’t rock.” [Laughs]. I’ll just pretend to rock with them.

It’s hard to even put it in a genre. Country rock? But when you think of country rock you think of Eric Church nowadays. Not that he’s not great, but it’s not really Eric Church-y, either.

Who are some of your vocal influences?

I love Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton, and I like all the pop girls, too. I like Lady Gaga, and I like Pink. I listen to all those girls. But I’m really inspired by simple stuff like Loretta and Dolly, and the pure sound of them. Kitty Wells, I love her old stuff. The Carter Family.

Bluegrass feeds my soul. I was able to be around a lot of bluegrass festivals, and I was very inspired by that bluegrass sound. Of course, I can’t make that sound — I’m not as good a player as those guys. But I definitely lean toward that old country sound when I want to hear music, and when I write music. I lean toward simple melodies and simple chord changes. There’s not a whole lot of chord changes in my original songs. Now, when I get with J.B., he’s very rock and a lot of pop, and he throws in all these chords.

I’ve learned so much from him. Thank God I met him, because I’ve learned so much from him, my musical education has increased so much in the last few years. I’m a better player — and I’m not even a player. I wouldn’t even classify myself as a player. That’s one of the first things he said to me, actually. When I categorized myself as a player, he said, “You’re not a player.” [Laughs]. He definitely puts me in my place, all of the time.

When you live in Nashville — you live here, too — there’s so many great, amazing players. I’ll tell you what, I am definitely in awe of all these great singers who can sing without playing an instrument, because I don’t know what to do with my hands. So I’d rather be playing my simple chord changes on the ukelele and banging it out, than trying to figure out what to do with my hands while I’m singing.

Your music isn’t the kind of music that would lend itself to a big Carrie Underwood-type production, where you’d be doing the sort of dramatic delivery that she does.

Right. And in my family, everybody’s played. It’s one of those things –  when you sing, you play. [Laughs]. So that’s what we do. But a lot of my friends in town sing and don’t play, and they’re great. They have that arm thing down, and it’s great, but I just don’t have it.

Did you try to go the more traditional label route and publisher route before you decided to go independent?

I didn’t. I just kinda wanted to do my own thing. I’ve been told what Nashville does. Nashville kinda just … I knew if I went in somewhere and said, “Make me a star,” that it probably could have been done, but I didn’t want to go in and sing other people’s songs. Not that I’m opposed to singing other people’s songs, or writing with other people. I just wanted to sing the songs that I was writing, and I wanted to do it on my own. Being independent, I get more of a sense of satisfaction that, everything we’re doing is what we’ve done. I mean, we’ve had help along the way from friends, but no labels have even come after us or anything. We’re just so different from what Nashville’s putting out right now.

And I knew I was different from what Nashville’s doing. I’m not Carrie Underwood, and I don’t want to be Carrie Underwood. I think she’s amazing, but I’d just rather be me, and write the songs that come to me, and sing with … a lot of people say that it’s a channel you hit when you’re writing songs, and it comes to you from the world beyond.

In my brain, what I feel and what I believe is that it’s God  — or our angels, or spirit guides, or however you want to say it — the Being, the Great Creator who allows us to be creative and gives us the things that are supposed to be written, and they’re supposed to be sung this way and written this way. And so, Carrie Underwood has her own thing going, and it’s beautiful and amazing, and I still — I think I listened to ‘Before He Cheats’ yesterday three times in a row. I think that’s great. I’m all about girl power, and I think it’s important to be yourself, too. Be original, be yourself and do what you do.

"I knew if I went in somewhere and said, ‘Make me a star,’ that it probably could have been done, but I didn’t want to go in and sing other people’s songs.  "

Do you find that your last name and your family association is a bigger help, or does it create an unrealistic set of expectations for you?

At first I was so nervous to have people say, “Willie Nelson’s granddaughter.” But I’m more proud of him than I am embarrassed of my playing. So I feel like — he’s heard my stuff, and he loves it. He’s proud of it, which makes me on Cloud Nine, extremely happy. And now I especially don’t get embarrassed by it, since he’s supportive about it, and wants to push it.

With the name, you know they’re gonna listen to it. It doesn’t mean they’re gonna like it. There’s lots of music that people don’t like. If you like it or you don’t like it, whatever. But the name just ensures that people are gonna listen to it, and we can only hope that they like it.

When you meet people and they find out that family association, does that come along with an assumption on their part that you have an easier life than you do?

Yeah, I think maybe sometimes so. My grandpa is really, really cool, and I’m able to work for him. I check the fan emails for him, and my cousin runs the website, and my aunt runs the fan club. So it’s a family business, basically. We’re all involved. So, since I was able to do that, I was able to stay home with my kids and not have to work outside the house.

Now that I’m doing my music project and I need extra money for this stuff, I do have two extra jobs. I’m a bartender at a place right beside the Exit/In in Nashville, it’s like a craft beer bar, and then I deliver sandwiches during the day. I do all this to make extra money to afford my band and this music project that I believe in. So I’m definitely down in Nashville, and they’re seeing me down in Midtown delivering sandwiches on Music Row. They know me, and it’s all good. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.

Our plan is to get out on the road this fall and try to go to places in the Southeast, and be able to come home. Drive to Georgia, drive to Florida, drive to Kentucky and Alabama and come back home. Not spend too much money on the road, but just try to make some extra cash with those gigs, right around our home town.

We’ve been tossing around the idea of putting out singles, like the old style of A-side and B-side, just putting out two singles every few months, and then touring around the Southeast with our new singles, promoting those. So we have things going. It’s a lot of work, but we’re seeing a lot of progression. And that’s all you can ask for.

"With the name, you know they’re gonna listen to it. It doesn’t mean they’re gonna like it.  "

That’s doing it old school, as opposed to having a big promotional machine.

It is doing it old school. I’ve been reading Waylon [Jennings]‘s autobiography, and the new Johnny Cash biography, and both of them talk about them riding around to radio stations, talking to the DJs and chumming up with them. So it kind of does remind me of this. And the journey’s fun. This life that you have of being creative and putting your art out there, and your heart out there on the line for everyone and try to win over the internet [Laughs], it’s a fun life to have. You can’t really complain. You have to be positive and keep going.

On your website you talk about how important it is to be in a band, instead of being a solo artist. Why is that so important to you?

With my guys, they have been in a band together for 25 years or something. So they can just read each others’ minds. And after the last two-and-a-half years of us playing together so much, they can read mine. That’s all that matters. I don’t need to read theirs. I can just look at them in freak out mode, and they know what to do. I think playing with the same people is really important to the vibe you get onstage when you’re playing. It’s how the audience connects with what’s happening up there.

I don’t want to down Nashville, but it seems like they put people with random musicians, and it’s not the same effect as people that are having a party together because they play together a lot. They get to a music level of performance that you don’t get when people who don’t know each other are playing. I just think it’s just a sync-up vibration, and the audience can feel that. It’s just a cool, family-like vibe that we all have, and I think that’s important.

Of course, my grandpa’s played with his band for over 30 years, so there’s a lot of — I don’t really understand how people can play with just random people.

Is there anything else you want to say before we wrap up today?

I want to tell people about the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, the SAFE Act, which is the Safeguard American Food Exports Act. If everyone contacts their senators and their congressmen and ask them to support the bill, we can get the bill passed that would protect all American horses from slaughter. I would like everyone to know that.

Is there a particular place to access that online?

Yes, it’s at The Animal Welfare Institute.

Next: Dean Miller Talks to The Boot About ''Til You Stop Getting Up'

Read More: Interview: Raelyn Nelson Forges Her Own Path for New EP |


Willie's Granddaughter Looks to Make Her Own Name

Willie’s Granddaughter Raelyn Nelson Looks to Make Own Name

July 14, 2014 - By Trigger  //  Reviews  //  21 Comments


That’s right ladies and gentlemen, the Nelson clan can now field three generations of performers on the stage, and the new generation is about as defiant and ass kicking as you might expect. Rearing out of the gates comes the rambunctious and ribald Raelyn Nelson and the Raelyn Nelson Band: a full throttle country rock experience, just as much Loretta Lynn as it is The Ramones, with Willie’s little granddaughter out there in skimpy miniskirts and a flirty midriff while making one hell of a racket and breaking hearts.

As you can imagine, Raelyn was raised with country music poured right into her bottle, and along with her obvious influences, (including one that goes by the name of “Willie”), she’s a huge Loretta Lynn fan, and will put her dukes up to anyone who has anything cross to say about the country queen. But when it came to putting out her debut EP, the music took a different direction, with more of a rock and punk attitude as can be inferred heavily by the block letters, and even Raelyn’s exposed midriff that mimics almost exactly the cover of The Ramones’ 1976 debut cover.

raelyn-nelson-bandRaelyn has been playing in Nashville and performing for a while now mostly in the vein of her family tradition. But when she partnered up with underground rock producer Jonathan Bright to try something a little different, what they came up with is self-referred to as “Country/Garage Rock”. Wild-eyed with a lot of girl power and melodic sensibility, The Raelyn Nelson Band EP may not exactly wow the traditional country crowd, but it certainly gets your attention and has you singing along, even if it’s filed as a guilty pleasure.

The lead off track to the EP “Do You” and the later track “Careless” finds Raelyn waxing unapologetically self-destructive yet ultimately resilient in a similar vein to Lydia Loveless. “Moon Song” takes a lighter approach, with Raelyn appropriating the ukelele like her aunt Amy Nelson of Folk Uke, and dueting with her famous grandfather himself in a song that is simple and sappy, but still refers to the family’s natural inclination to songcraft. “He’s All Mine” is where Raelyn exposes her country roots and love for Loretta in a track that is twangy without interrupting the winning streak of infectious groove and melody this EP sports. The final song “Getta Room” about inappropriately mugging down in a booth may be a little bit too long, but exhumes the early 80′s punk rock approach of girls with the guts to tell it all.

With this EP, Raelyn isn’t looking to make your eyes water, but for what it is, it shows a lot of promise from the young Nelson as a singer, front person, and songwriter. And as she likes to point out, I don’t really have any desire to be a ‘solo-artist’. Everyone in my family who plays music has always placed a lot of importance on band chemistry, on stage, off stage and in the studio. Our band can almost read each other’s minds. Why would I mess with that?”

Reading Raelyn’s mind along with Jonathan Bright are Paulie Simmons and Preach Rutherford from the band Defense Wins Championships.

Raelyn is the daughter of Willie’s son Billy Nelson from Willie’s very first marriage. In a somewhat strange circumstance, Raelyn is actually slightly older than her uncle, fellow country rock performer Lukas Nelson. But no matter, Lukas Nelson, Raelyn’s aunt Amy Nelson from Folk Uke, and everyone else from the Nelson clan has welcomed Raelyn into the performing family. “I’ve been told by more than one person in the ‘biz’ that I’m stubborn like my grandpa. I kind of like that.”

There’s a lot still to be determined about where Raelyn’s musical nose will point, and if she can make music a full-time, non-stop endeavor. This certainly should be approached as a rock album first with a little bit of country mixed in, but classifications aside, Raelyn Nelson shows a lot of spunk on this very enjoyable EP.

1 1/2 of 2 guns up.

RNB is 95.3 The Bear's Pepsi "Southern Original" Featured Band of the Week!!!!!

Each week, 95.3 The Bear and Pepsi will spotlight ‘A Southern Original’ featuring an up and coming country artist and delve into their music and history. 

I figured the best way to start this feature off was with a rocking little country band from Nashville that has some of the most legendary roots in country music. Hopefully, with that comment you’ve figured out that Raelynn Nelson has a famous grandfather named Willie, or ‘Papa Willie’ as she lovingly refers to him.

Taking a page from Willie, Waylon, Cash, and Paycheck’s unwritten “Outlaw Handbook,” Raelyn Nelson Band are doing their own thing with an alt rock leaning, rowdy approach to country music. As a matter of fact it’s hard to classify them either way so let’s don’t. Let’s just call it music and move on.

My favorite track on their self-titled EP is a song called ‘Get a Room’, the last cut on the record. This one hits like the opening of ‘I Fought the Law’ but more like The Clash version than the original Bobby Fuller Four version. The driving drum beat sets the tone while the chang-a-lang strumming of the guitar helps to count the song into a rhythm awaiting the arrival of Raelyn’s voice, innocent but commanding. The song sings of two lovers who need to “get a room before we get arrested.”

Of course you’ll not be able to miss ‘Moon Song’ which is Raelyn’s chance to sing beside her very famous grandfather. Honestly the most country track, ‘Moon Song’ is like an upbeat, honky-tonk lullaby if that makes sense. Her sweet voice coupled with the steady strumming of her ukelele makes it the perfect soundtrack for Sunday morning coffee with the person you love.

Before leaving you two tracks to discover on your own, I’ll close with a short review of Raelyn Nelson Band’s first single, ‘Do You.’ It’s a signature love song/party anthem if there has ever been such a thing. A bouncy ode to individuality and the prospect of love, the appeal of ‘Do You’ is the springy guitar riffs and anthemic chorus, cheering, “But I wanna be with you and I want you to want me to. Do you?”

All in all, I’m a fan. Raelyn Nelson Band have a musically adorable appeal and are smart in their placement of memorable riffs and lyrics.


RNB on SiriusXM Outlaw Country

The Raelyn Nelson Band has been added to the playlist of the Outlaw Country channel on SiriusXM. We've heard everything on there from George Jones to Elvis Costello and have become huge fans. You will too. So tune in, give them a listen, and shoot them an email or give them a call to request some RNB if the mood strikes. 

Request line- 1-888-656-88529


Website link-

Raelyn Nelson Band @ the 5spot
That’s why it’s so refreshing to see an act like Raelyn Nelson Band. As the granddaughter of one of country music’s greatest category-busters, Willie’s progeny’s got genuine genetic hillbilly street cred — not to mention the smarts to team up with three garage punk vets in Jonathan Bright, Paulie Simmons and Preach Rutherford. Beyond that, they just let evolution take its course. Hey, ho, let’s go to the whiskey river, y’all! [Read More...]
Raelyn Nelson Band w/Rock City Birdhouse & The Secret Club


Raelyn Nelson Band w/Rock City Birdhouse & The Secret Club 

When:  Wed., April 23, 9 p.m.


What: The Americana and country jungle is currently populated with all varieties of musical “manimals” — that is, rock bands that think they’re “authentic” (whatever that means) country, mainstream country bands that sound suspiciously like ’80s rock, boy bands that think they’re folkies, country-tween pop, bro country and everything in between. That’s why it’s so refreshing to see an act like Raelyn Nelson Band. As the granddaughter of one of country music’s greatest category-busters, Willie’s progeny’s got genuine genetic hillbilly street cred — not to mention the smarts to team up with three garage punk vets in Jonathan Bright, Paulie Simmons and Preach Rutherford. Beyond that, they just let evolution take its course. Hey, ho, let’s go to the whiskey river, y’all! RANDY FOX

EP now on ITunes

The new Raelyn Nelson Band EP is now available on ITunes! Get it here:

Raelyn Nelson Band EP release

The new EP from the Raelyn Nelson Band is now for sale. Limited autographed copies available right here on the website, or you can pick one up at Grimey's in Nashville. Grab one and tell your friends!

Raelyn Nelson Band at the Rutledge