Nelson - 2000 Like Father Like Sons

ARTIST: Nelson
ALBUM: Like Father Like Sons
LABEL: Stone Canyon
SERIAL: unknown
YEAR: 2000

LINEUP: Matthew Nelson - acoustic guitar, lead vocals * Gunnar Nelson - drums, vocals * James Intveld - bass, vocals * Mike Turner - lead guitar, vocals * Steven McClintock - acoustic guitar, vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Stood Up * 02 Waitin' In School * 03 Milk Cow Blues * 04 My Bucket's Got A Hole In It * 05 I'm Walkin' * 06 Fools Rush In * 07 Travelin' Man * 08 Hello, Mary Lou * 09 Garden Party * 10 I Got A Feelin' * 11 I Believe What You Say * 12 It's Late * 13 Just Once More - Bonus Track


Trying to achieve long-term respect and success in the music business as the offspring of a musical legend isn't easy. Just ask Dweezil Zappa and Zakk Starr (a.ka. Starkey) to name but two examples who have realised it's something of a double-edged sword.

Despite the benefits of being born with music in their blood, they haven't been able to live up to their famous fathers' achievements. Yet Matt and Gunnar Nelson have managed to carve out a successful career with the influence of their late father Rick, the original teenage idol killed in a plane crash in 1985, inspiring them it seems from beyond the grave.

As a live concert performance of some of Rick's most famous hits plus only one original Nelson tune, 'Like Father Like Sons' is certainly not a typical Nelson record. Cynics may scoff that it is merely an attempt to capitalise on an increasingly nostalgic record buying public, while Nelson fans expecting another 'Life' or 'After The Rain' will be horrified by what is, on the surface, a rockabilly record.

Yet anyone who has followed Nelson's career thus far will realise that talent is the reason Nelson has been successful. 'Like Father Like Sons' is a poignant assertion of Nelson's past, present and future, and for true Nelson fans, it displays the roots from which the brothers sold three million records.

The Songs

While the songs performed are mostly covers, long time fans shouldn't be disappointed. Wherever Matt and Gunnar's names are on a record, melody reigns supreme and Nelson's extremely tight band manages to breathe new life into their father's songs.

Only the most narrow minded of Nelson fans could fail to be wrapped up in the exquisite melodies of the timeless 'Hello Mary Lou', 'Travellin Man' and 'Fools Rush In'. And with Matt on vocals, Mike Turner excelling on lead guitar and Gunnar surprisingly enough occupying the drum stool, the record does rock out.

Especially on 'It's Late', 'Milk Cow Blues' and 'My Bucket's Got A Hole In It'. Set opener 'Stood Up' is a classic example of the type of 1950's pop that indirectly inspired countless successful rock musicians to pick up a guitar in the first place.

Although a couple of the songs, namely 'I Believe What You Say' and 'Waitin In School' are a little hit or miss, the twelve covers are just enough until the emotive, Matt & Gunnar co-written song 'Just Once More' is performed as an encore. A quite beautiful acoustic song about living with the memory of a loved one, it is a fitting finale.

At times Matt sounds eerily similar to Rick and nowhere is this more the case than on the brilliant 'Garden Party', one of Rick's most famous self-penned tunes. Listening to this, it's easy to see just how Matt and Gunnar have inherited their father's knack of crafting great songs.

In Summary

Indeed, considering the concept of this record, it is fitting that this song written about an audience at Madison Square Garden who booed their father's new Stone Canyon Band songs in favour of his older hits should be performed.

When Matt sings 'If memories are all I sing, I'd rather drive a truck' the fact that the guys have made a musical career without riding on the coat-tails of Rick Nelson's memory, is unintentionally confirmed.

Whilst 'Like Father Like Sons' may not be to everyone's tastes, it is a chance for Matt and Gunnar to express their gratitude for their father's legacy, and also proves that their own music sits comfortably with his. For the two brothers, there could be no higher praise.

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