FAIRFIELD — Only a handful of musicians would put country legend Willie Nelson and Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor in the same sentence.
Stokes Nielson does.
The man behind The Lost Trailers, the musical group who will play May 9 at the Dixon May Fair, cites both as influences. The Lost Trailers thrives on collaboration as do Nelson and Reznor, Nielson said.
Collaboration will be key for The Lost Trailers as Jason Wyatt, who has been with the band for about four years, stepped aside a few weeks ago to focus on solo work.
“The Lost Trailers is really four separate sidemen with me being the glue, the common denominator,” Nielson said. “That stems from my belief that collaboration brings really great music.”
Nielson said the most recent transition is the most exciting as the group is recording a new album. Fans in Dixon will get to hear some of those songs.
Just as exciting for Nielson is that those who attend the shows this summer have a chance to be in a Lost Trailers music video.
“We’ve had such a great time making videos, we wanted to make it more interactive with our fans,” Nielson said.
Fans are being asked to document their journey to the show and bring the video to the concert. There will be an area at each venue where fans can drop off their footage. There will also be a video production team at the shows filming the audience.
The videos will be live on The Lost Trailers site on the CMT Artists page on CMT.com and on the CMT Artists app. The CMT Artists page is one of the largest communities of country fans in the world, he said.
The band will spend much of the summer on the road. After that, it will wrap up the new record.
“We are closing in on the first single,” Nielson said. “We’re shooting a video for that single.”
Some of the album has been recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London with producer/engineer Eddie Kramer, who worked with artists such as Buddy Miles and The Beatles.
It’s one of Kramer’s first forays into country music, Nielson said. The pairing also means Nielson gets to work with one of his record production heroes.
“We’re doing a rock ‘n’ roll approach on this,” Nielson said. “There are elements for The Killers and Kings of Leon coming through on this record. It’s both country and American rock ‘n’ roll. It’s the quintessential American music.”
Nielson also serves as producer for YouTube’s “Country Now TV” and said the visual impact of music is very important.
Video is the way people consume music, he said.
Nielson recently shot a video in Harlem. It was an amazing experience, he said, especially for a country boy. It involved taking some chances, he said. It’s a jump he was happy to make, calling it one of his best videos as well as a launching pad to expand country music into other genres and the world market.
His entrance onto the country music scene rivals that of actress Lana Turner being discovered at a Hollywood drugstore while sipping a soda.
Nielson was working at the Vanderbilt University radio station and was asked to promote a Willie Nelson show.
“I had no idea I was going to meet him,” Nielson said.
That opened the door for Nielson to share his music with Nelson, who liked it enough to hire The Lost Trailers to play at an annual Fourth of July picnic in Texas.
“He pulled me out of obscurity and gave me a shot,” Nielson said. “It changed my life.”
At the time, Nielson was thinking about a career in international relations or in human services.
He’s looking forward to the Dixon May Fair show as the band will be the headliners, and he’ll be outdoors and closer to the crowd.
Fans will have a chance to meet the band after the show.
“I love meeting new people,” Nielson said. “I love hearing stories from the people.”
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.
8 p.m. May 9
Dixon May Fair Fairgrounds, Picnic Stage, 655 S. First St.
Free with fair admission