NEPA Scene Staff

Willie Nelson’s son Micah plays free show as Particle Kid at Gallery of Sound in Wilkes-Barre on Sept. 13

Willie Nelson’s son Micah plays free show as Particle Kid at Gallery of Sound in Wilkes-Barre on Sept. 13
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Before the Outlaw Music Festival returns to The Pavilion at Montage Mountain in Scranton this Friday, Sept. 14, one of its performers, Particle Kid, will play a free show and meet fans at the Gallery of Sound in Wilkes-Barre on Thursday, Sept. 13 at 6 p.m.

Particle Kid is the experimental musical identity of J. Micah Nelson, the son of festival headliner and country icon Willie Nelson, and he also performs with his brother, Lukas Nelson, and Promise of the Real. All three acts are scheduled to play on Friday with a lineup that also includes Van Morrison and the Tedeschi Trucks Band.

One lucky attendee of the Wilkes-Barre gig will win a free pair of tickets to the Outlaw Music Festival from the the Gallery of Sound (186 Mundy St., Wilkes-Barre). For more details, visit the Facebook event page.

Micah Nelson comes from a lineage of musical and cultural pioneers. Growing up touring with his father Willie Nelson and his brother Lukas Nelson, he has always been surrounded with vibrant and authentic creative spirits. Both a talented visionary artist and iconoclastic musician, he has performed with various acts at events like FarmAid, Neil Young’s Bridge-School Benefit, Desert Trip festival, Lightning in a Bottle, Coachella, and the Bonnaroo Festival, as well as on late-night shows hosted by Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, and Jimmy Kimmel. He has showcased his artwork and music in countless other venues, spanning the creative spectrum.

From his involvement in the psych-punk-orchestra Insects vs Robots, his ongoing musical collaborations and extensive touring with Neil Young, his live performance-painting and multi-instrumental contributions to the band POTR with his brother Lukas, to his cymatic visualizations of dancing water molecules, idiosyncratic charango performance, and singing, songwriting, and playing guitar with his future-folk project Particle Kid, Micah is constantly exploring the symbiosis of light/sound/vibration, striving to discove rnew emotions through various forms of expression, and seeking to touch the outer reaches of the synesthetic experience.

Hen House Studios Records released his much-anticipated debut album in 2017. Described by its creator as “a love letter to the cosmos,” the self-titled album marks the first full-length release from Particle Kid.

“Particle Kid” sees Nelson creating a multi-dimensional musical universe all his own, crafted with immense ambition, inventive production techniques, and strikingly emotive songcraft. Built upon sounds imagined by Nelson since he was 7 years old, the album sounds both familiar and oddly modern, with the spirits of future folk, low rider funk, riff rock, power pop, lysergic Americana, flower punk, and progressive jazz fusion all somehow woven together with deep-rooted melodies, unique improvisational elements, and remarkably intricate arrangements.

Though written almost entirely on acoustic guitar, “Particle Kid” makes an immediate impact with its ocean-of-sound approach, Nelson’s expansive vision inspired in equal part by his passion for big band orchestras, classic psychedelia, the Stax Records house band, and so much more. The album’s seemingly infinite scope underscores the emotional questing and planetary consciousness within Nelson’s idiosyncratic songwriting. Songs like “Forever Friend” and “The Ocean” are mysterious and moving, rippled with avant noises and street corner sax solos, their warm textures and off-kilter tempos emblematic of Nelson’s focused introspection and intensely human worldview.

Particle Kid “has been living and breathing art and music for practically all of his young life,” declared Pitchfork. “His songs speak to his talent.” The Los Angeles-based visual artist/musician’s remarkable output spans the creative spectrum unlike few others, from his role in innovative folk punk band Insects vs Robots and idiosyncratic performances on the Andean stringed instrument known as a charango to cymatic visualizations of dancing water molecules and playing guitar alongside his brother Lukas Nelson in Promise of the Real, known for their own cowboy hippie surf rock – and, of course, their collaborations with Neil Young.

Nelson is joined throughout “Particle Kid” by an extraordinary roster of friends, family, and fellow musicians, including legendary bassist and friend Paul Bushnell and virtually all members of both Promise of the Real and Insects vs Robots. But at its core is Nelson himself, whose wildly diverse range in instrumentation includes all stringed things, key things, things that clank, snap, thump, and sonic buttons of all shapes and sizes. For “Particle Kid,” this usually included acoustic and electric guitar, piano, drums, percussion, charango, self-sampled field recordings or, in the nature of spontaneous innovation, Nelson often used whatever happened to be next to him in the moment if it sounded right.

“Particle Kid” was recorded at Venice Beach, California’s Hen House Studios, the innovative recording studio, label, and art space founded by Nelson’s longtime friend, collaborator, musician, and co-producer Harlan Steinberger.

See NEPA Scene’s photos of Particle Kid performing at the Outlaw Music Festival in Hershey last week here.

Photo by Jason Riedmiller Photography/NEPA Scene