Hangtown Music Festival features three days of music

What I love about quintessential American rock ‘n’ roll bands is that they still haven’t forgotten that commitment and perseverance are the fundamentals to artistic success.

Two of the hardest-working men in music will be joining the festivities at Hangtown Halloween from Oct. 26 to 29: Neal Casal of Chris Robinson Brotherhood and Lukas Nelson of Promise of the Real.

Oct. 26-29 | Hangtown Music Festival | Placerville
Chris Robinson Brotherhood | Oct. 27 | 5:45-7:45 p.m.
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real | Oct. 29 | 2:15-3:45 p.m.

“I had a love of rock ‘n’ roll from early in my life,” says Casal. “It grabbed me. It made me feel excited about life, to get out into the world and explore. It captured my heart and imagination right away, so I decided to go for it.”

Casal has since played guitar with everyone from Ryan Adams and The Cardinals to Phil Lesh & Friends. He currently tours with Circles Around the Sun and Hard Working Americans in addition to CRB. He first met Robinson when Beachwood Sparks opened for The Black Crowes in 2001. When The Black Crowes broke up 10 years later, Casal was proud to become a founding member of Robinson’s new band.

“I had a love of rock ‘n’ roll from early in my life,” says Casal. “It grabbed me. It made me feel excited about life, to get out into the world and explore. It captured my heart and imagination right away, so I decided to go for it.”
–Neal Casal

“We’re a psychedelic rock band with traces of R&B, blues and folk music,” he says. “We do over 100 shows a year and we work really hard together. We are committed to what we do. We’ve gotten so much better as a band over the years. The time and dedication are paying off for sure.”

CRB released their latest album of their prolific catalog in August. “Barefoot in the Head” was recorded at Panoramic Studio overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Stinson Beach.

“The new record is by far our best songwriting yet,” says Casal. “We are able to condense all of ideas into shorter songs now and still get across all the ideas we are trying to.”

Over the years, CRB has evolved into a true brotherhood of kinship and music.

“We all in it together,” says Casal. “Our entire band has a longstanding friendship. We’re deep and it’s a family. None of us are actually brothers, but we are a brotherhood. Expect a show where you can come out and dance all night, hear some great singing and some really excellent songs.”

Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real have recently been playing as Neil Young’s backup band and touring on the Outlaw Summer Music Festival Tour with Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and others.

“I started playing with my father from a young age,” says Nelson. “I’ve been doing this for a while now, but I still get excited to play with these guys. They are masters of their trade and I’m someone who takes what I do seriously. So, this kind of thing never gets old.”

Promise of the Real has been playing 250 shows a year for the past 10 years.

“I feel lucky to feel that I have one of the best rock ‘n’ roll bands in the world,” says Nelson.

The long-standing group released “Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real” on Fantasy Records in August. The album is full of quality songwriting that sounds in shades like Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan and late-era Beatles, all the while featuring Nelson’s classic, yet unique voice.

“It’s a collection of my favorite songs I’ve written in the last two or three years,” he says. “We’ve been doing it on our own and this is the first time we’ve had a label and money to record. It’s a more mature record than we’ve done before. The sounds that we’re getting are much fuller. They’ve got a lot more weight to them.”

Like those who came before them, Promise of the Real plays music from the heart.

“A lot of people that come to our shows feel like it’s a church kind of experience,” says Nelson. “There’s this soul gospel thing that happens and people get riled up about it. Before every show, we circle up and we say, ‘Let’s give them something they’ll never forget tonight,’ and usually we succeed. We have a lot of old friends out there in California, so it’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s kind of dreamlike the way our career has unfolded. Right now, we’re just kind of riding this wave wherever it takes us.”

For more information on Hangtown Music Festival, visit hangtownfestival.com.