Soundtrack to My Life: Lukas Nelson

Soundtrack to My Life: Lukas Nelson

Lukas Nelson comes from a celebrated musical family, as the son of country music icon Willie Nelson, and he has been surrounded by surrogate uncles like Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Jennings all his life. No wonder he turned to music from an early age, but he has surely made a name for himself with the hard working cosmic country soul outlet Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real.

Born in Texas and raised in Maui, Hawaii, Nelson started to write songs at the age of 10 and playing in bands since high school. While attending L.A.’s Loyola Marymount University he befriended drummer Anthony LoGefo at a Neil Young gig, Nelson started Promise of the Real (named after a line on Neil Young’s “Walk On”), eventually dropped out of academics and went full time with the music in 2008.

Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real have joined their mentor Neil Young as his backing band, studio and live, and worked closely with father Willie on several occasions. Just out with their fourth and eponymous album, it is fair to say that this bunch are more than able to stand on their own feet.

It must be both a blessing and curse carrying the heritage of such a prominent name in music, but Lukas Nelson, now 28, is about to outshine them all, carrying the torch of former giants while adding new spark to the fire. In the word of Saving Country Music: “You can legitimately claim that in raw talent, Lukas Nelson might be the most gifted progeny of a country music superstar the world has ever seen.”

We invited Lukas Nelson for a round of Soundtrack to My Life. Check out the playlist – and of course his brand new album!


A song you like to sing in the shower?
Haha. Roy Orbison songs are great in the shower, especially “Oh, Pretty Woman”!!

Best song you’ve ever experienced live?
Definitely playing “Cowgirl In the Sand” with Neil Young at Desert Trip.

A song that inspired you?
“Little Wing” by Jimi Hendrix always inspires me.

Favorite song that you’ve written/performed on?
One of my favorites is the version of “Find Yourself” on my new record, with Lady Gaga on backing vocals. I love doing that one live because the audience always sings along!!

First song that you learned to play?
My dad taught me “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.”

A song that represents your childhood?
“Texas Flood,” as recorded by Stevie Ray Vaughan. I used to play it every night with Dad.

A song that represents you as a teenager?
Bob Dylan’s “Simple Twist of Fate” was definitely my soundtrack back then.

Best song for when you’re head over heels in love?
“Only Love Can Break Your Heart” by Neil Young sums it up perfectly.

Best song for a broken heart?
“All Things Must Pass” by George Harrison always gets me through the hard shit.

A song that always brings a tear to your eye?
“Stardust” from Dad’s record of the same name.

Best song for going out on the town?
“Life’s Been Good” by Joe Walsh!! Great tune to go out and party with.

A song you’re embarrassed for loving?
Well, I’m not quite embarrassed by it, but some people may not understand why I love “(God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time on You” by *NSYNC. It’s just a great fucking song.

The song of yours that will live on the longest?
I hope “Find Yourself” or “Set Me Down On a Cloud.”

Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real is produced by John Alagia (Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer) and was recorded at The Village Studios in West Los Angeles.

Promise of the Real’s six-piece line-up now includes longtime bandmates Tato Melgar (percussion), Anthony LoGerfo (drums) and Corey McCormick (bass, vocals) along with new members Jesse Siebenberg (steel guitars, Farfisa organ, vocals) and Alberto Bof (piano, Wurlitzer, Hammond B3). Lady Gaga added her signature vocals to the rousing “Carolina” and “Find Yourself,” while Jess Wolfe and Holly Lessig of the Brooklyn-based indie-pop duo Lucius provide backing vocals on five of the 12 tracks.

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