I will remember the first time I saw Lukas Nelson in concert, for the rest of my life. He and his band kicked off the show for his dad, Willie Nelson at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC last year. At the time, I did not know much about Lukas and his band Promise Of The Real (POTR). I knew of them, but I had never really stopped to listen to their music. (Shame on me!) I was excited that Willie was on tour with family and friends because it gave me the opportunity to see this talented family in action! However, I never expected to be completely blown away by all of them.
You see, I grew up listening to Willie Nelson, as every Texan most likely does. In fact, to be honest, for most of my childhood, the only music my father allowed in the household, when he was in town, was the following: Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, Ray Charles and Patsy Cline. So as you can imagine, I eagerly awaited Willie to take the stage in DC that night, because I have some amazing memories of my childhood that are connected to his music.
What I was not expecting to discover that night, was an equally as impressive opening band whose lead singer remained on stage and accompanied his father throughout the entire show. I say I will remember this night for the rest of my life because when Lukas Nelson walked on stage and sang his first note, I got chills, my mouth fell open, and I realized that everyone in the audience surrounding me, was equally as enthralled. You could have heard a pin drop as the silence fell across a room completely mesmerized by what was transpiring on stage. With a voice that will remind you of his father’s unique sound and some powerful bone chilling pipes driving his soulful projection, this rocker gives everything he has to give in every single one of his songs. I felt like I was watching a young Stevie Ray Vaughan give it his all on the stage that night. A stellar guitar player (bordering on deserving the title of guitar god), backed by a vital force of a band whose jams would make you believe they have been rocking big arenas for decades, Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real, are indeed, the REAL deal. If you are into real music, classic rock, country, and amazing musicians, then you should be listening to this band. Music like this is what inspired me to launch Back To More Cowbell…it was after seeing Lukas play and exchanging messages on Twitter about his music that made me want to write about it.
Here is a great clip of the band talking about how their name is based on a Neil Young song. “Sooner or later it all gets real.” It gives you a glimpse on how it all started for them six years ago. The clip also mentions the first time they ever played with Neil Young on stage and the fact that they are now backing him up on his new album The Monsanto Years. The band is currently on tour with Neil Young. Together, their performances blow the roof off the buildings.
And…here they are at the Harvest the Hope Benefit Concert performing with Neil Young on Who’s Gonna Stand Up, in an effort to support protecting our land and water.
Lukas and POTR cite Neil Young, Bob Weir, The Rolling Stones, Eddie Vedder/Pearl Jam, and obviously, his own father, Willie Nelson as some of their inspiring musical influences and it is certainly evident in their music.
Check out this beautiful cover of Expecting to Fly. In this clip, Lukas offers some solid advice in reference to the musicians they look up to, and life in general…
“if you don’t have a hero or someone that you look up to, in whatever you do, you aren’t going to do very well because you need an example.”
I could go on and on about several of their songs but I will leave it up to you to explore their music and share your thoughts on which ones you find to be your favorites. Personally, my favorite song of theirs thus far is Find Yourself.
If you want to rock out in your living room, your backyard, etc with some good friends, this is the song for you. It is reminiscent of Elton John’s Bennie and the Jets, but with a Led Zeppelin and Grateful Dead twist infused into it. It is the kind of rock that leaves you wanting more because you just cannot get enough. Listen to the guitar riffs in this song! Lukas Nelson kills it! The song also delivers a powerful message. I just want to close my eyes and lose myself in the moment every time I listen to it. This POTR song is one of my go tos when I just need to dance it out. Here it is recorded during a Jam in the Van session (which by the way, are always awesome)!
Clearly influenced by music legends, Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real are keeping real music alive. I am forever a fan and if this is the first time you are coming across their music, I hope you become a fan of theirs as well. Not only are these guys solid musicians, they are also salt of the earth human beings who care about what is happening to our planet. Lukas is a champion for great causes such as protecting our wildlife, our beautiful planet, and water resources. Apparently they are also not too shabby at surfing too!
Before I wrap this up, there is one musical event that I want to highlight for you, in case you haven’t come across it as of yet. I am a big fan of Pearl Jam’s original version of Just Breathe.
However, I fell in love with it all over again when I heard Lukas Nelson sing this song with his father live. There is something so emotionally inspiring that takes this song to a whole new level when both of them are singing this beautifully written melody. The lyrics in this song are a perfect backdrop and message for these two members of an overall amazing artistic family. You cannot help but feel the love between a father and his son and know that they are at a point where they both understand that life and time are precious. They are going to appreciate every moment they have left to share together. There were a lot of teary eyed people in the audience that night when they finished singing this number. I love watching the video and seeing the two of them cruise along the highway. I love their voices paired together. You can hear Willie Nelson’s voice in his son’s voice so clearly, and again, it is pretty remarkable how much alike they sound. Here it is: Just Breathe- Willie & Lukas Nelson.
I hope you enjoy listening to their music as much as I do. Learn more about this great band here: Lukas Nelson And Promise Of The Real. If you visit their website soon, you might get lucky enough to get a free download!
Support them and buy their music via their website, or you can buy it here: POTR.
Lukas Nelson and POTR are on tour across the U.S. I hope you can catch one of their shows at a venue near you.
I want Willie Nelson to live forever. Most of us do, especially us Texans. I never want any of the music legends of classic rock and country to leave us, but I know that is not how life works. Lukas…I find comfort in the fact that you and your incredible band will carry the torch and make sure that classic and real music never dies.