The first annual Outlaw Music Festival was held Sunday in Scranton, PA at the Pavilion on Montage Mountain. The event was hosted by actor/musician W Earl Brown and attended by those you might think would be at an outlaw festival, women, from toothless to topless and men, drinking Bud’s donned in cowboy hats.
There were two stages set up, The Pavilion Stage and The Grove Stage. The Pavilion was home to locals Cabinet as well as major acts Lee Ann Womack, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Sheryl Crow, Neil Young + Promise of the Real and headliner Willie Nelson and Family. The Grove Stage was host to some very talented acts, basically a mash up of Scranton PA’s own Cabinet members with other local musicians covering songs by artists such as Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, Lefty Frizzell and John Prine. However, the highlight of the Grove Stage was definitely Willie’s 27-year-old son Lukas Nelson. He was by far the busiest man of the day, playing a set with his own band on the Grove Stage as well as joining Neil Young + Promise of the Real and his dad Willie on the Pavilion Stage.
The lineup for this inaugural event was amazing. Cabinet started the afternoon with banjos, mandolins and fiddles in hand. Their bluegrass/country style is something to be seen live.
Next up was Lee Ann Womack who had people dancing in their seats to her hit “I Hope You Dance” as well as some of her other favorites. Following Womack was a band I really wanted to see.
Being a Black Crowes fan I couldn’t wait to see Chris Robinson’s latest endeavor, the Chris Robinson Brotherhood. They sounded very reminiscent of the Crowes. It could definitely pass for a new Black Crowes album.
Next up was a different crow…Sheryl Crow. Crow petitioned the crowd to vote for Willie Nelson for President, proclaiming, “weed would make everyone a little bit nicer.” She even tried her hand at a fan supplied hula-hoop.
The next two artists were fresh off Farm Aid the day before. Neil Young took the stage, solo, to sing “Heart of Gold,” only to be backed up by Lukas Nelson and his band the Promise of the Real for the remainder of the show. They played everything from “Harvest Moon” to Powderfinger,” “Cowgirl in the Sand,” “Cortez the Killer” and “Rockin’ in the Free World” to round out the thirteen song set.
Willie Nelson took the stage, joined by whom else, Lukas Nelson. With ‘Trigger’ slung over his shoulder, Willie and his Family ripped through a nineteen-song set of all his classics which included “Whiskey River,” Toby Keith’s “Beer for My Horses,” “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,” “On the Road Again,” “Georgia on My Mind” as well as a bunch of Hank Williams covers. I truly hope Mr. Nelson will bring his Family back for more Outlaw Music Festivals in the future!
Article: Michael DiGiovanni