Local Musician Check-in: Lord Nelson

Posted on June 19, 2013 by


“Rural Rock from the Blue Ridge”: that’s the slogan for the Americana rock band, Lord Nelson, born out of the rolling hills of Nelson County.

lord nelsonIf you haven’t heard of them yet, Lord Nelson has been making people get up and move at just-outside-of-town hot spots such as Fardowner’s – West in Crozet – and Rapunzel’s – South in Lovingston. Lately, the boys of Lord Nelson are getting excited about their EP Release Party on June 27th at “C-Ville Weekly nominated fav music venue” The Southern.

For this local musician check-in, I was able to talk to them about the family band and the music that fuels their exciting live performance.

Tell us a little about yourselves: where you’re from; if not Cville, when did you come here?

Lord Nelson is a band of brothers in the literal sense. My brother Bram and I grew up playing since we were young out in the woods of Nelson county. After gigging with lots of folks, we found brothers Henry and Calloway Jones and things really clicked for us.

When and why did you start playing music/singing? What instruments do you/bandmates play?

I first started playing guitar when I was 12 and I think that’s true for most of us. All of our families come from a strong musical background, and we saw early on the joy on playing music with friends. We also saw how much work it can be to get a song heard.

Most influential artist: Child? Teen? Adult?

Growing up, I was drawn towards songwriters like Dylan, Robbie Robertson and John Prine. My father is a songwriter and by listening to him, I was able to figure out how to string a song together, where to put the boards and how to frame a narrative.

When did you write your first song/what was it about?

Not sure what the very first would be but I do remember writing a song when I was 13 called “Too Late for Love.” It was pointed out to me shortly after how ridiculous a concept that is for a kid. A good lesson about the value of agency, for any writer.

What influences your writing?

While it may be easy for some folks to write great rock songs on an acoustic guitar in their living room, I find I’m most inspired by hearing the rest of the band in my head as I’m writing: how will Bram accent the backbeat? What will Henry’s trombone solo sound like? What baseline will Calloway put here? It’s a real treat to be playin with people long enough to get there.

What aspects of life excite you and stir your affections, fuel your passions? (i.e. nature, heartbreak, joy, pain, relationships, serenity…)

I’m a pretty even-keeled person, but playing in front of people helped draw me out of my shell at an early age. There is something raw and exciting about that moment when everything finally makes sense on stage. Every musician can relate I’m sure. So elusive, but worth all the sweat for that moment.

When was Lord Nelson’s first gig? What emotions and thoughts ran through your head after finishing?

Our very first show was at a benefit concert out in Nelson for a close family friend and local musician who taught me a lot about songwriting. It was an emotional night but a powerful reminder of the importance and transformative effect music can have.

Do you get pumped or nervous pre-show?

I think the key is to be too wrung-out to think about it. After the fourth song it all falls into place anyways.

What does a day in the life of a modern day songwriter look like from your perspective?

Poor. If that’s a professional impediment then you’re probably not doing your job.

What do you want people to take from hearing your music? (As a fan, also what do you want people to take from experiencing your live show?)

If you aren’t an exciting live band, if you aren’t giving people a place to visit for a couple hours, it’s not going to be a great show. We really enjoy playing music together and the more we do it, the better it translates to our audience. If you make it to a Lord Nelson show, we hope that you limp out after a long, sweaty night of rock, folk, and blues, and an open tab.

What is the feel and focus of your debut EP (Extended Play: more music than a single, but not enough to be considered a full album)?

Our first recording, “Lost in the Orchard,” was a great experience that focused on crafting some new and unorthodox songs into a set that stood together. It deals with the Civil War, growing up in a rural area, the supernatural, and relations. It makes sense once you hear it.

What does the not-so-distant future hold for Lord Nelson ? Talk about the upcoming EP release show.

We are very excited to be releasing our debut EP at the Southern Cafe in Charlottesville on June 27th. This is going to be a great night of bluegrass and rock ‘n roll. This will really kick off the summer festival season for us and should be a hell of a good time.

Lastly… Describe the band in 10 words. Be creative!

Rock, agency, stories, Dickel, energy, funk, backbeat, rural, sweat, brothers.

lord nelson