DESCRIPTION | TRACKS | CREDITS
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 six-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 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.
Young, an essential member of the POTR family, met the band after he caught them at Farm Aid several years back. “Neil got in touch after that, and we started talking by email,” Lukas recounts. “Eventually, he asked us to record with him. We fell in love with each other musically, one thing led to another and we became Neil’s band.”
“I knew I had a lot of good songs that transcended the cultural boundaries between rock & roll and country,” Lukas says of his vision for the album. “We owe a lot to Neil; we made this record after coming off the road with him for two years. Neil’s been mentoring us, and we’ve been absorbing that energy, and I think it shows. We got acclimated to a different level of artistic expression. I wanted to get the songs as pure as they could be. We’ve grown.”
“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.
Produced by John Alagia
Executive Producer: Scooter Weintraub
Recorded by Alex Williams, Dan Piscina, John Alagia, Niko Bolas, Merle Chornuk and Shao Jean Sim
Recorded at The Village Studios, Los Angeles, CA, Pedernales Studios, Spicewood, TX and Atomic Sound, Brooklyn, NY, 2015-2017
Assistant Engineers: Gabe Burch, Joey Vitas, Jake Valentine, Steve Chadie and Dakota Bowman
Mixed by John Alagia and Dan Piscina
“Die Alone” and “Carolina” mixed by John Alagia, Dan Piscina and Billy Centenaro
Mixed at The Village Studios, Los Angeles, CA
Mastered by Brad Blackwood at Euphonic Masters
Production Coordinator: Cindi Peters for ProChordNation
Photography: Myriam Santos
Package Design: Carrie Smith
Wardrobe courtesy of John Varvatos, Levi’s and Lucky Brand.
Promise of the Real is:
Lukas Nelson − lead vocals, guitars
Tato Melgar − percussion
Corey McCormick − bass, upright bass, vocals
Anthony LoGerfo − drums
Jesse Siebenberg − steel guitars, Farfisa organ, vocals
Alberto Bof − piano, Wurlitzer, B3 organ
Bobbie Nelson − piano on “Just Outside of Austin”
Willie Nelson − Trigger on “Just Outside of Austin”
Micah Nelson – piano and banjo on “Runnin’ Shine”
LADY GAGA – background vocals on “Carolina” and “Find Yourself”
Lucius (Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig) – featured vocals on “Set Me Down,” “Die Alone,” “Carolina,” “Fool Me Once” and “Forget About Georgia”
Dave Palmer – piano on “Die Alone” and “Carolina”
Josh Grange – lap and pedal steel on “Runnin’ Shine,” “Four Letter Word” and “If I Started Over”
John Alagia − piano on “Set Me Down on a Cloud,” “Die Alone,” “If I Started Over” and “Forget About Georgia.” B3 organ on “Set Me Down on a Cloud,” “Die Alone,” “Carolina,” “Just Outside of Austin,” “Fool Me Once,” “Four Letter Word”, “Forget About Georgia” and “Find Yourself” and Shaker on “Four Letter Word”
Alice Smith – vocals on “Runnin’ Shine”
Joey Vitas – piano on “Set Me Down on a Cloud” and “Fool Me Once”
Oliver Kraus – strings and string arrangement on “Breath of My Baby”
LADY GAGA appears courtesy of Interscope Records
Lucius (Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig) appears courtesy of Mom + Pop Records
Willie Nelson appears courtesy of Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music Entertainment
Alice Smith appears courtesy of Xyion Inc.
All songs written by Lukas Nelson. Published by Sound Memory Co. LLC (BMI) except “High Times” written by Lukas Nelson and Alyssa Miller, published by Sound Memory Co. LLC (BMI) and Lonesome Pilgrim Publishing (BMI), administered by Me Gusta Music.
Performed and arranged by Promise of the Real