Lukas Nelson & The Promise Of The Real
I suppose that you can’t have it both ways. Either you get discounted because your father is Country Music royalty (if not the current reigning monarch) and without this lineage then maybe you wouldn’t have got the leg up to have toured with Neil Young as part of Shakey’s band, had Lady Gaga provide vocals on a couple of tracks or have had your dad lend a guitar solo to a song. However the downside is that without the attendant hubris then I would expect this to walk into end of year lists, without remotely breaking its stride. I hope it does.
We start with “Set Me Down On A Cloud” that may delay you, as you’re sure to repeat it before moving on. Against a blissful bass line that reminds the writer of the recently departed Andy Fraser (of UK Blues Rock band - Free) Nelson tells you of the implications of his love not remaining by his side. Wonderfully simple raw electric guitar creates a near spiritual atmosphere and impact. Whoa.
Nelson appears to have been playing these songs for a number of years and he penned all 12 tracks; we’re lucky he eventually got to releasing them. In a similar Rock vein “Find Yourself” might be typical Southern Rock and Lady Gaga slips into rock chick mode and wails beautifully behind him… also did I mention the boy on bass? Corey McCormick thunders along as if in his own world (one I would gladly inhabit).
Like his father then Nelson can comfortably change genre and sounds surprisingly like his father! “If I Started Over” is such a Country song. Possibly more attractive is the “Just Outside Of Austin” where Glen Campbell and “Gentle On My Mind” come to mind especially as Willie provides some 1960’s guitar runs.
“High Times” may be a song with a modern message, I’m not sure what it is but it is certainly brutal Rock although I expect the estate of Marc Bolan won’t be receiving royalties for the “Children Of The Revolution” riff misappropriation.
We sign off with “Runnin’ Shine” a beautiful song of running illicit alcohol and the difficult lifestyle it affords the distiller and those close. A picked acoustic guitar sits behind Nelson’s lovely voice with female backing on the chorus.
This is a very together record showing mastery and accomplishment with a lot of charm and class. Lukas Nelson & Promise Of the Real is not album of the year but this boy has produced something tremendous and if it were now his time to move to the top of the bill it wouldn’t be a moment too soon.