Guitarist, singer and songwriter Lukas Nelson was born in Austin, Texas, raised on his father Willie Nelson’s famed Honeysuckle Rose bus, and now based out of Venice Beach, California, the 21-year-old Nelson is no stranger to the road, with his first trip on the bus at 5 weeks old on a tour by The Highwaymen (the supergroup featuring his father, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson). He is joined in the aptly-named Promise of the Real by drummer Anthony LoGerfo, bassist Corey McCormick and percussionist Tato Melgar. The band has released a well-received EP, Brando’s Paradise Sessions, produced by former Oingo Boingo bassist John Avila, and plans to release a full album in the not too distant future.
Promise of the Real is a blend of “genuine rock’n’roll,” as the Oregon Music News notes – part American heart’n’soul, Latin tones, blues, funk and a pinch of country. “This dynamic group has firmly established themselves as one of the up-and-coming greats that you will no doubt be hearing a great deal of in the very near future. The sky is the limit for Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real.” “I have no idea how to label it,” says Nelson, “but we come to it with a rock’n’roll attitude!” And as Chico News & Review notes, they’re “evocative of such heavyweight rockers as Steve Winwood, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
“If one had any question at first as to whether Lukas could hold his own on stage or was only there as a result of nepotism, he laid any doubts to rest with his performance,” the paper continues of a show opening for Lukas’s father. “The younger Nelson’s soul-filled voice and guitar playing, combined with the mature (for such a young band) musical restraint and talent of his bandmates, was impressive. As he warmed up over the course of his set, it became obvious that he is a unique musical force in his own right. Akin to the proverbial velvet hammer, Lukas and his crew sneaked up on the crowd and knocked them dead.” “I am also a musician and I write my own songs, and after all you know I’m Willie Nelson’s son, it matters what I bring to the table,” notes Lukas. “He’s one of my heroes. If I’m compared to him, it really is a compliment to the highest order. And when people ask me what it’s like to be his son, I say, ‘I don’t know what it’s like to not be his son.’”
The band has also opened shows for Dave Matthews Band, Blues Traveler and Toots & The Maytals and played such events as Denver’s Mile High Festival. “When we formed the band, we promised to be real and that’s where the name came from,” says Nelson. And he plans to keep it real and rocking for some time to come. “It’s going to go for the rest of my life. I’m not doing it to get famous; I’m just doing it because I like playing. I just hope that each record is better than the last and that I’m still touring when I’m as old as my dad.”