When Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real opened for the Who in Nashville earlier this month, the singer-guitarist delivered an especially fiery reading of the title track of his band’s upcoming album, Turn Off the News (Build a Garden). “All these other thoughts have me confused/I don’t need to try and understand,” he sang, before tweaking the payoff line with a four-letter-word ad lib: “Maybe I’ll get up, turn off the fucking news.”
Clearly, Nelson has had enough of the obsessive 24/7 news climate. On Friday, he released the studio version of “Turn Off the News (Build a Garden),” featuring Sheryl Crow on background vocals. It’s a lilting song full of well-meaning instruction that’s reminiscent of CSN&Y’s “Teach Your Children Well”: “Turn off the news and raise your kids/Give them something to believe in/Teach them how to be good people/Give them hope that they can see.”
“We’re trying to encourage a lifestyle where people can be active in their local communities, and do something constructive, rather than glued to a device,” Nelson said in a statement. “It’s really about living your life with your heart leading the way.”
In support of the album, Nelson has launched a video series spotlighting “stories of hope, community gardening and local activism.” Watch the first installment below. Nelson and Promise of the Real will release Turn Off the News (Build a Garden) on June 14th.