Premiere: Kathy Mattea Felt Compelled to Record “Turn Off the News (Build a Garden)”


When Lukas Nelson first recorded “Flip Off The Information (Construct A Lawn)” in early 2019, he didn’t watch for the monitor’s premonitory nature within the rocky socio-political generation that adopted. 

Recorded on a commute to the idyllic Shangri-Los angeles in Malibu, the track served because the identify monitor of Nelson and his band Promise of the Actual’s sophomore effort with Fable Data—a collection of songs steeped in counterculture beliefs function of the rock n’ roll motion that first impressed his artistry. 

However now, bearing round the clock virtual witness to the conflict unfolding throughout Ukraine, the subtle rallying cry hasn’t ever been so dire. 

As the brand new host of the respected Mountain Level, Kathy Mattea consumes tune for a residing. So the now 62-year-old artist used to be greatly surprised by means of her sweeping emotional reaction to Nelson’s idea piece music. The track, she explains, “mainly chased me down; it could now not let me move.”

On March 3, Mattea is premiering a canopy of “Flip Off The Information (Construct a Lawn),” along a video from when the track used to be recorded and primary debuted throughout a taping of Mountain Level, with American Songwriter.

Mattea hasn’t ever met Nelson and jokes she isn’t even positive he is aware of about this recording. However she has crossed paths together with his father—the mythical Willie Nelson—a number of instances over the process her decades-spanning profession. One night time whilst tidying up at house, Mattea remembered an Austin Town Limits set she recorded that includes the more youthful Nelson and listened to it as background tune. She used to be midway via kitchen clean-up when “Flip Off The Information (Construct a Lawn)” got here on.

“I finished in my tracks,” Mattea recollects of the fateful second. “That doesn’t occur in point of fact, very ceaselessly —{that a} track simply takes me utterly out of what I’m doing. And that’s at all times an indication to me.”

She walked over to surprise on the track, rewound the set, and performed it yet again. “It’s so understated and so transparent,” she continues. “It’s now not adversarial however issues to one thing—an answer. It struck me to my core.”

The track resided in her thoughts for the following few days, prompting her to investigate other recordings. “I saved listening to it a definite approach, and I simply may just now not calm down until I were given my guitar out and taught myself a model of that track and got here up with my very own association,” she explains.

So when it used to be time for an encore at her subsequent gig, Mattea knew precisely the place to achieve. “I simply walked again out at the degree by myself and I used to be like ‘Glance, I discovered a track,  and that is the concept I’d like to depart you with this night as you stroll on your automobiles,’” she continues. “And other people had been very moved by means of it —which is what you hope.”

The simplistic lyrics, when overlaid with the results of a devastating world pandemic and emerging racial rigidity surmounting in nationwide protests, resonate with just about each and every individual in lately’s virtual global. For lots of, 2020 used to be spent glued to the tube—analyzing our humanity as misplaced lives grow to be only a quantity on a ticker.  Nelson doesn’t declare to have the solutions, nor a soapbox. However, via his phrases, Nelson urges us to believe what may occur if we did flip off the dangerous information field, and stepped out into our group to construct one thing in combination.

We may really feel just a little much less hardened / We may really feel just a little extra unfastened, Mattea sings with mild unravel. 

Construction a lawn changed into a common outlet as quarantine halted the supersonic tempo of contemporary residing. Via her personal rendition, Mattea envisions a metaphorical lawn as fertile flooring for rebuilding relationships severed by means of political department and virtual dependancy. The speculation isn’t to show a blind eye to the shape-shifting, not too long ago devastating, occasions unfolding at the display screen. Relatively, it champions a unifying act that attracts other people in combination over birthday party strains, with a fruitful consequence. 

“With one of the most polarization that we’re experiencing culturally, it’s like ‘K, I will not be in a position to take a seat down and communicate with you about political issues, or cultural issues,’” Mattea explains. “‘But when we get within the grime, and we paintings in this challenge in combination, we’re at the similar facet of one thing, and we’re making one thing that’s genuine on the planet—now not simply on the web, or at the tv. This can be a real-world residing factor ‌we’re going to nurture in combination.’”

Mattea is an unabashed admirer of Nelson’s paintings with Promise of the Actual. She credit him for his individuality as an individual, author, and bandleader—for forging his personal trail regardless of mountain climbing up the ranks with a “substantial shadow.”

“Whilst you listen him sing, you’ll be able to move, ‘After all, it’s Willie Nelson’s son,’ however he additionally has this different layer, and that’s the section that’s going to head on previous the Willie affect,” Mattea explains. “He’s gonna move off on his personal trajectory, and chart his personal route. It’s in point of fact thrilling to look someone who can grasp his personal. From what I will inform, he turns out to have a in point of fact excellent connection together with his band that’s been in combination for some time. He’s obviously the chief, nevertheless it’s very democratic—all of them get a large number of credit score. I’m overjoyed for him, and am having a look ahead to seeing the place he’s going to be in any other 10 years.”

Watch Kathy Mattea carry out Lukas Nelson’s “Flip Off The Information (Construct a Lawn)” under. Take a look at Mattea’s upcoming excursion dates right here and stay alongside of Mountain Level at the website online. 

See upcoming Kathy Mattea live shows HERE.

Picture by means of Reto Sterchi / Lacking Piece Workforce