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Lukas Nelson & Promise Of The Real: How It All Started?

Shooter Jennings and Lukas Nelson Cover Their Famous Fathers
by

Ever since Lukas Nelson & Promise Of The Real began playing together more than a decade ago, the buzz that surrounds the band has been quietly intensifying. The diverse American rock band has since built a devoted following who has stuck by with them through six studio albums, hundreds of shows, and major festivals worldwide.  

Let’s take a look back at how it all started!

Where It All Started

In 2007, Willie Nelson’s son, Lukas Autry Nelson relocated from Paia, Hawaii, to attend Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, where he met Anthony LoGerfo. The two quickly became good friends, bonding over their common love for rock music.

Soon enough, Lukas dropped out of college and started to play music with Anthony regularly. In late 2008, the two musicians enlisted bassist Merlyn Kelly and percussionist Tato Melgar to create Promise of the Real.

POTR, as the group is referred to, started to tour heavily – including opening gigs for Willie Nelson and B.B. King. They put up a live EP called Live Beginnings to fund their tours. 

Bringing a mix of blues, reggae, roots, and absolute American rock, POTR has finally issued their first studio EP, Brando’s Paradise Sessions. What makes it even more special is that it comes with a cover art – a peace sign logo – created by Lukas’ younger brother Micah Nelson. Since then, the logo has been strongly connected to all of the band’s imagery – not only that, but Micah also started joining the band on stage.

A year later, the band has released its first album, Promise of the Real – which is composed of 12 tracks, along with tribute songs to two singers that influence them the most: Jimi Hendrix and Neil Young. There’s also a cover version of a song Willie Nelson has written before, “Peaceful Solution.”

Their self-titled debut album opened so many doors for the band, finding themselves playing in more than 200 shows all over the United States in 2011. They also appeared in major festivals such as Farm Aid and even made it to national TV, such as Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Late Show with David Letterman, to name a few.

However, even before their first album was released, bassist Merlyn left POTR. The band had a couple of temporary bassists until they met Corey McCormick.

They Got Even More Opportunities 

The band never stopped soaring, releasing few more albums. They got the biggest opportunity of their lives when they were enlisted to play with Neil Young on his 2015 record The Monsanto Years. The album peaked at No. 21 on the Billboard 200 albums chart and reached the No. 1 spot of Billboard’s Top Rock Albums. Since then, POTR has been Neil Young’s regular backing band.

Recently, it was announced that Young’s European summer tour with POTR in 2019 – a nine-date tour that kicked off in Odense, Denmark – will be recounted with a double album and concert film titled Noise and Flowers. It is scheduled for an early release this year.

Moreover, Lukas Nelson was also recruited for the now-hit movie A Star is Born as a music consultant, helping train actor Bradley Cooper for musical authenticity. Lukas also wrote several songs on the soundtrack album.

When the film was released, it was greeted with widespread acclaim, which introduced a whole new fanbase for Lukas Nelson & Promise of The Real. At once, Lukas said they saw a positive turnaround in show attendance and a wider variety of concertgoers.

Without a doubt, Lukas Nelson & Promise of The Real learned early on that true originality is gained by great effort, never given.

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