Have you ever found yourself justifying your own existence by exclaiming “I AM NOT MY FATHER! I AM MY OWN PERSON!!”
I wonder if Lukas Nelson has ever had this crisis because he sounds so much like his father, the great Willie Nelson, that it is impossible not to make comparisons. His voice is eerily similar to the young version of his dad. It is high, has a wonderful country whine, features that Willie Nelson-style vibrato and shake, and it has very little gravel.
None of these things are negative. It is unavoidable. My dad, a college baseball player, taught me to hit in the same style that he had success with; Willie Nelson, a music legend, taught his son to be a musician in the same style as he had success with.
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real will scratch the itch you did not even realize was there. This record gives you another Willie Nelson album from the 70s. This record is a conglomeration of country music sounds.
Part of Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real is thick country blues. It is the kind of music that just the instrumentation alone can make a tear well up in your eye. It evokes emotion in you whether you like it or not. That musical power combined with Lukas Nelson’s inherited songwriting talent allows this album to be very moving.
Another portion of Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real is very much Texas red dirt country with touches of southern rock. The Willie-ness is overwhelming and awesome. You picture yourself in a roadside bar filled with beer, smoke, and women who you probably shouldn’t go home with.
Finally, part of this record is akin to country music inspired show tunes. It feels big and full and would fit in a Broadway show. One of the backup vocalists on this record is Lady Gaga, so I think this sound is fitting.
If you are a fan of country music at all do yourself a favor and pick up this album. It is a great bridge to the origins of the modern outlaw/alternative country moment.
My favorite track: Forget About Georgia