Promise of the Real
Post-holiday homecoming: Lukas Nelson breathes life into his own rock 'n' rolldreams
It’s been nearly a year since the release of Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real’s self-titled CD. Since then, the band has been touring and entertaining crowds across the country with its blend of blues, rock, Americana and country—and they'll (finally!) be back in Austin for a show at Antone’s the day after Thanksgiving.
I caught up with Nelson by phone as he was heading to Malibu. He says he (and the band) has been very busy this year, spending part of it on the Country Throwdown Tour along with Dad Willie, Jamey Johnson, Randy Houser and a few others. Nelson says the road is second nature to him. “I like moving around. I grew up doing that and I guess it’s been etched into my life,” he says.
The band also made a few late night talk show appearances, including on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and the Late Show with David Letterman. They will return to late night TV in December, appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live on December 7.
Nelson’s baby at the moment is the band’s next CD, which has already been recorded. He says he hopes it will be out early in the New Year. I asked him how it is different from the band’s last CD. “I think it shows a progression of the band. We’ve gotten better since then but we’ll have to let people decide how it feels.”
It’s easy to see that Lukas Nelson has an eclectic barn of musical influences. He’s known for his mastery of slick blues guitar, and has been known to play behind his back or with his teeth. If you have ever seen him perform, you know he leaves everything he’s got on that stage: it’s so honest. That honesty is the inspiration for the name of the band, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real. He and his band mates always want to keep it real and want the audience to see they are performing because they love it.
Nelson says if people have never seen his band perform live, they can expect to see rowdy rock. The band will be getting rowdy in Austin on Friday November 25 at their gig at Antone’s. Nelson, who grew up in the Austin area, says playing at home is always unique. “It feels different cause it’s where I’m from. It’s nice when people come out and see me. The reception in Austin is nice. When you play in your home town you really want people to come see you.”
Nelson is working hard to make a name for himself. He says having a famous father doesn’t make his success a given. “It’s just a journey. It really doesn’t matter about that. It just matters what I bring to the table. You can have every opportunity brought to you but if you don’t take advantage and don’t work hard, it really doesn’t matter.”
During the ups and downs of his journey, Nelson says he always keeps in mind the best advice his father ever gave him. “My dad said to keep breathing. That the best thing you can do if you are going through anything tough is to focus on your breath.”
Besides his dad, this up and coming rock ‘n’ roller has shared a stage with the likes of John Fogerty, Bob Dylan and BB King. He was excited to get the chance to play with Neil Young at this year’s Farm Aid. “Having Neil Young take an interest in our music is one of the coolest things to ever happen to us,” Nelson says.
One of Nelson’s dreams is to play Wembley Stadium or Carnegie Hall some day. In the mean time, he’s enjoying entertaining his growing fan-base, while keeping it real. “I just want to keep being able to play music and make a living at it. There is not much I want that I don’t already have. I feel pretty free to do what I want to do and that’s very fulfilling.”