Sarah Tudzin: At SXSW 2019, Illuminati Hotties was asked to perform at Luck Reunion, a relatively small and enthusiastic gathering of music fans who are fortunate enough to be invited to spend the day at Willie Nelson’s Luck, Texas ranch. The ranch was built in 1985 as a backdrop for the film, Red Headed Stranger, based on Nelson’s concept album of the same name. Ever since its saloon doors first swung open, it became a haven for Willie & friends – a place to trade songs & play cards, conveniently located in Nelson’s backyard. Wide and dusty, complete with faded building facades and a humble chapel, the Luck Ranch is a ghost town not quite deserted as it has been open for the last nearly four decades for celebration and the inimitable Luck Reunion.
Ever since my own childhood, my father played the records and preached the gospel of Willie Nelson: three chords and the truth. So when Illuminati Hotties was asked to play this self-proclaimed anti-festival for “outlaws and outliers…follow[ing] their dreams without compromise,” I was thrilled at the opportunity to share my music, but even more excited to see the Red Headed Stranger himself. It was a near perfect day at the ranch – open bar for all, bacon-wrapped rotisserie crocodile for lunch, country-wear boutiques, cold brew coffee, and enough Willie Nelson branded weed to soothe a bucking bronco. When Willie finally took the stage with his family band, the air was vibrating. At 85 odd years, he sounded as good as ever. I watched as the audience was spellbound by his usual cowboy charisma & sang aloud the songs of outlaws past.
Illuminati Hotties and Willie’s Ranch: Illuminati Hotties’ single “MMMOOOAAAAAYAYA” is out now.