Guitarist, singer, and songwriter Lukas Nelson was raised on his father Willie Nelson's famed Honeysuckle Rose bus. Today, the 21-year-old Nelson is still on the road, but with his own band, Promise of the Real. Joined by drummer Anthony LoGerfo, bassist Corey McCormick, and percussionist Tato Melgar, 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.
CAPA presents Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real at 8pm on Wednesday, November 2, at the Lincoln Theatre (769 E. Long St.). Tickets are $20 at the Ohio Theatre Ticket Office (39 E. State St.), all Ticketmaster outlets, and www.ticketmaster.com. To purchase tickets by phone, please call (614) 469-0939 or (800) 745-3000. Students between the ages of 13-19 may purchase $5 High Five tickets while available.
For some, their first musical memory might be a favorite song playing on the radio, a video on MTV, or a concert their parents took them to. But for 22-year-old singer-songwriter-guitarist Lukas Nelson, his first music memory is being on stage with such superstars as Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, and his father Willie Nelson singing along and stomping his feet to a crowd of thousands.
"I was out on the road with my dad when he was doing the Highwaymen with Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson. I was about two or three. I even took my first steps on my dad's tour bus at the time, the Honeysuckle Rose. I felt like I understood it a lot, like it was something that was close to me," said Nelson. He fronts the Southern-folk-rock group Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real, whose full-length debut CD, Promise of the Real, was released on December 21, 2010.
To say Lukas was born to play music is an understatement. The sixth child of one of the most acclaimed and beloved music stars of all time, Willie Nelson, and his fourth wife Annie, Nelson inherited his father's musicality, his penchant for penning his own music, and his love of the road.
Nelson's parents cut him off after dropping out of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles (where he studied music) and he lived out of his car for a year, couch surfed, and worked as a street performer. "I would play guitar and sing on the Venice boardwalk and the promenade in Santa Monica, California, and then go back to the campus and sit and play," said Nelson. "I learned how to gather a crowd and create these cool little hippie happenings. I felt like I was getting a different kind of education this way."
Soon after, Nelson began to take his music career quite seriously. He had played in a hard rock band when he was nine (Kalice), in a reggae band at 15 (Harmonic Tribe), and formed a band with his younger brother Micah at age 19 (40 Points). But with Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real, his songwriting craft and performance skills were fully honed.
The band - which includes drummer Anthony LoGerfo, percussionist Tato Melgar, and bassist Corey McCormick - released a well-received EP, Brando's Paradise Sessions (2009), and then hit the road with everyone from Willie Nelson, B.B. King, Dave Matthews Band, Blues Traveler, Creedence Clearwater Revisited, Bachman & Turner, Toots & the Maytals, the Meat Puppets, and others. Along with opening slots, they've also jammed onstage with Neil Young, B.B. King, Bob Dylan, and of course, dad at Farm Aid 2010.
Promise of the Real (2010) was produced by Nelson and band mates LoGerfo, Melgar, and former bassist John Avila (of Oingo Boingo fame). The album features nine original compositions, including the kick-off track and first single "Four Letter Word" and the surf rock jam "Start to Go." It also features two unique renditions of some of Nelson's favorite music-"L.A." by Neil Young and a mash-up of two Jimi Hendrix songs, "Pali Gap" and "Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)."
The record is also a family affair with Lukas recording his version of "Peaceful Solution," a song originally penned by his father and sister Amy Niccore. His father also contributes backing vocals to "Fathers and Mothers" and "The Sound of Your Memory," and lends his guitar skills to "All the Pretty Horses." Nelson's aunt (Willie's sister) Bobbie Nelson contributes piano to "Fathers and Mothers," and his younger brother Micah Nelson is responsible for the artwork in the CD booklet. Micah is also the creator of the band's peace-sign-tree logo and is considered the sixth member of the group because he often paints onstage during the group's live shows.
"The whole idea of being a musician is to create joy in the hearts of others," adds Nelson. "And that's something I think we achieved on this record. I really believe that everybody has their own purpose in life and I think mine is just to play music and spread some joy."