Since their formation as teenagers ten years ago, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real have quietly developed into one of America's most dazzling new live acts, playing hundreds of shows and major festivals all over the world, attracting a deeply devoted underground following. Still, with a bounty of invaluable experience under their belts, nothing foretold the artistic leap of Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real on their new, self-titled album, a mesmerizing, emotionally genuine, endlessly rewarding work of cosmic country soul set for release on Fantasy Records.
Recorded at The Village Studios in West Los Angeles, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real was produced by John Alagia (Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer) and features the band's new 6-piece line-up: Lukas Nelson (guitar, vocals), Tato Melgar (percussion), Anthony LoGerfo (drums), Corey McCormick (bass, vocals) along with new members Jesse Siebenberg (steel guitars, Farfisa organ, vocals) and Alberto Bof (piano, Wurlitzer, B3). Jess Wolfe and Holly Lessig of the indie-pop group Lucius contribute background vocals on five tracks evoking Exile on Main St.'s ecstatic, gospel-rooted harmonies, and Lady Gaga added stirring background vocals to "Carolina" and "Find Yourself." Elsewhere, the lilting, Glen Campbell inspired gem, "Just Outside of Austin" features a guitar solo from Lukas' dad, country music icon Willie Nelson, and piano from his 86-year-old Aunt Bobbi.
The new album includes 12 Lukas Nelson originals that draw on his country and rock lineage including literate Texas songsmiths like his father and ‘uncles' Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Jennings, along with the enduring influence of J.J. Cale, The Band, Clapton-era Delaney & Bonnie and of course, his mentor Neil Young. "Set Me Down on a Cloud," the soulful, country-rock epic that opens the album features Lucious' angelic background vocals and Lukas' lovely, lyrical guitar solo as the band stretches out behind him. "Forget About Georgia" unfolds to a "Layla"-like outpouring of yearning, as it vividly retraces the turbulent, bittersweet final stages of a doomed love affair. Lukas delivers a full-throttle vocal on the closing track, "If I Started Over," a Roy Orbison-inspired rumination of tender devotion. The R&B grind of "Find Yourself" is a particular triumph as Lukas and Lady Gaga weave an impassioned, romantic ultimatum.