News and notes from Fredericksburg's entertainment scene
BY JESSE SCOTT
FOR THE FREE LANCE-STAR
Nearly 27 years after his death, and more than 60 years since he made his first television appearance on “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet,” Ricky Nelson’s music remains ingrained in the hearts of a generation.
And who better to carry Nelson’s rockabilly classics on to the next generation than his two sons, Matthew and Gunnar?
“Ricky Nelson Remembered Starring Matthew and Gunnar Nelson,” a musical and audiovisual experience dedicated to Ricky Nelson’s timeless songs, hits Naval Support Facility Dahlgren on the Fourth of July. Admission is free and open to the public.
“It’s been so long since Dad has been gone, but so many people miss honest, good-hearted music these days,” said Matthew Nelson in a phone interview from Los Angeles. “We couldn’t think of a better place to share our music on the Fourth of July and show our support for the United States.”
The concert will feature the twin blond duo, a couple of guitars and a unique video reel of some of their father’s finest moments. The video features snippets from all aspects of Ricky Nelson’s colorful, multifaceted career.
Ricky Nelson became a household name, alongside his parents, Ozzie and Harriet, in the early 1950s. “The Adventures of Ozzie Harriet” was televised for nearly 14 years—still one of the longest-running sitcoms in TV history.
The black-and-white show eventually spawned a rock ’n’ roll career for young Ricky that compares favorably to those of Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins. Over the course of his tragically short life, Ricky Nelson became a generational heartthrob and recorded classics such as “Travelin’ Man” and “Garden Party.”
In 1987, nearly two years after Ricky Nelson was killed in airplane crash, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
“My dad and grandparents really deserve a ton of credit for blazing a trail,” said Matthew Nelson. “We really are one of the most dynamic families in the history of rock ’n’ roll the only family in history to have three generations of No. 1 hits. Now I’ve got to work on that fourth generation!”
Matthew and Gunnar Nelson, of the modern rock band Nelson, made names for themselves in 1990 with the infectious, chart-topping hit “(Can’t Live Without Your) Love and Affection.” These days, the duo are all about paying tribute to their dad while pursuing as many musical endeavors as possible.
“I embrace every project that I work on, kind of like a baseball player focuses on every single at-bat,” said Matthew Nelson, who also plays in an L.A.-based side project, Elvis Monroe, with band mates from Lifehouse and Matchbox Twenty. “But when we’re up there on stage for [Ricky Nelson Remembered], we’re up there with my whole family’s legacy. That’s a lot of history I can’t slack off!”
One day, the Nelson brothers hope to be remembered just as their dad is today. With so many positive things going on, Matthew and Gunnar Nelson appear to be on the right track.
“In addition to selling so many albums, my dad was one of the most genuine, nicest guys you’ll ever meet,” said Matthew Nelson. “People that met him and talked to him, loved him. Music is still something that I still love and gets me excited and I can’t wait to bring that to Virginia.”
What: Ricky Nelson Remembered starring Matthew and Gunnar Nelson
Where: Naval Support Facility Dahlgren, 6509 Sampson Road, Dahlgren
When: Wednesday, July 4, at 4 p.m.
Info: 540/653-8153; rickynelsonremembered.com
Jesse Scott is not picky. He will accept Chick–fil–A sandwiches in the mail, people!