The title track to Lukas Nelson’s fifth album pretty much sums up the focus of the record; people are generally good, so let’s focus on being kind to each other. And yes, it’s the type of sentiment that gets one branded a snowflake in 2019, but damn it’s good advice. And it sounds even better coming out in Nelson’s lazy, comforting drawl, backed by one of the best bands going today. The song shows up twice on the record, first as a steady, electrified version and again toward the album’s end slowed down a bit with acoustic guitar. Elsewhere there are tracks about suspicious lovers (“Out in LA”) and broken hearts (“Save A little Heartache”), but the overall vibe is “let’s just slow down a bit and be kinder to each other”.
Over the course of nearly a decade, Nelson has evolved from being a decent songwriter with a famous last name to a stellar one, at the same time stepping out from his dad’s long shadow and proving all the attention he has generated recently (thanks in large part to his inspiration and songwriting credits in the Bradley Cooper/Lady Gaga remake of A Star Is Born) is clearly warranted. Along with the title track, the album is crammed with some of the best songs in his already impressive career, from the Roy Orbison-inspired “Where Does Love Go,” to the twangy addictive “Lotta Fun”.
It’s hard to deny we are living in trying times, but “Turn Off the News” is the perfect antidote for sanity, at least for a little while.