GULF SHORES – Twin sons of Ricky Nelson, Gunnar and Matthew Nelson, will relive the music and memories of their father in their multi-media event, “Ricky Nelson Remembered” at the Erie Meyer Civic Center in Gulf Shores on Jan. 20 and 21 at 7 p.m.
Ricky Nelson emerged from the “Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet” and was coined America’s first “teen idol.”
During his career, Nelson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, sold more than 240 million records and was the only artist to have a No. 1 song, No. 1 movie and No. 1 TV show in the same week.
Life Magazine coined the phrase ‘Teen Idol’ after him and he is credited with pioneering the country rock sound. Ricky performed hit songs like “Hello Mary Lou,” “Poor Little Fool,” “Travelin’ Man,” “I’m Walkin’,” “I Gotta Feeling,” “Teenage Idol,” “Garden Party” and many more.
Ricky Nelson died in a plane crash on his way to perform a New Year’s Eve concert in 1986.
The show is the opening for Gulf Shores’ 27th annual Entertainment Series that includes six acts and 11 shows between now and Feb. 25. Upcoming events include Bob Eubanks Not So Newly Wed show, The Kingston Trio, Dean Torrance of Jan and Dean fame, Frankie Avalon and past American Idol contestants in a Motown-themed show.
With music in their blood, the Nelson twins have taken their own musical paths, while keeping their fathers musical memory close to heart.
The “Ricky Nelson Remembered” show emerged two years ago and honors the musical career of their father.
“We kind of did it more like a labor of love,” Gunnar said.
Gunnar and Matthew, have been making music together since there toddlers.
“For me, it was inspiring to have my dad always to have a guitar in his hand and always writing as song and always doing that with his band and it kind of showed me that it was possible to do that,” Gunnar said. “Actually doing that and being successful was doable.”
For most shows, it’s Matthew and Gunnar Nelson. However the duo doesn’t shy away from a full band at some concerts.
“Personally, they’re both great shows, but I actually prefer the one with the two of us doing it together because it’s actually a different show,” Gunnar said. “It allows us to tell the stories behind the songs and we’re not playing at the audience, we’re playing with the audience.”
Gunnar’s favorite song of his dads is “Lonesome Town.”
“I love the approach of it,” He said. “It’s very honest. One voice and one guitar and it really moves people. It doesn’t need a whole lot of embellishment and it has vulnerable lyrics as well.
“It’s just a really naked honest moment in the show.”
The band is changing their style from its former 80’s hair band, Gunnar said.
“We’re doing something different now that pretty much takes advantage of everything we’ve learned over the years since we started playing and it’s a new sound,” he said. “It’s not a retro thing at all anymore. It’s more of like a singer/songwriter rock and country sort of thing.”
The duo just signed a new management deal and is excited about beating the record for its 100 shows last year.
“The shows are the same thing this year, but we are going to be doing it modifying the show,” Gunnar said. “We’re going to be going from most of the Ricky Nelson shows we did last year to more Matthew and Gunnar Nelson songs this year.”
Gunnar says the concert is more than just a show. It’s a production.
“We have the advantage because we have clips from Ozzy and Harriet Show and we actually put them into our concerts so when people come, it’s not like a live concert. It’s a multimedia experience along with it,” he said.
“Ricky Nelson Remembered” showcases the life of Ricky Nelson with never-before-seen interviews from artists he influenced, including Paul McCartney and Chris Isaak. Matthew and Gunnar’s musical production is a heartfelt trip down memory. Tickets are $37. For more information, visit http://www.gulfshoresal .gov/entertainmentseries.