Lukas Nelson: Willie's son has his dad's genes, but his own remarkable style

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Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real, the band fronted by Willie Nelson's son, opens for his father at the Outlaw Music

CLEVELAND, Ohio - Willie Nelson's love of golf is pretty much legendary. Almost as legendary as he and his music are.

So, it should come as no surprise that his son Lukas (A) loves golf and (B) may be on his way to music legend status himself.

Lukas Nelson and his band, Promise of the Real, as well as his brother, Micah, open for their father in the Country Outlaw Festival at Blossom on Friday, Sept. 15.

Nobody is naive enough to suggest that his dad's fame hasn't been a factor, but the reality is that it's the Nelson DNA flowing through his veins that has had the bigger impact. That plus years of practice and, honestly, a lot of time on the musical driving range.

The band, 10 years old now, has built a solid reputation for musicianship and songwriting - by Lukas - highlighted by a virtual apprenticeship with Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Neil Young.

"We are getting more refined and better at what we do,'' said Nelson, calling from a studio in California. "I play golf, and I liken music to golf.

"I think we now are in the professional stages of the game,'' he said. "I could even venture to say we've won a major championship or two.

"The trajectory indicates that in the next 20 to 30 years, if we stay true to who we are, practice and work hard, we will have a career that rivals the great bands in history,'' Nelson said.

That's not cockiness or hyperbole talking. The band's self-titled new album, released late last month, is a collection of songs that befits the son of the man who wrote "Crazy'' and other great tunes.

"I'm a songwriter first and foremost,'' said the younger Nelson. "In terms of songwriting, I feel I can hold my own with anybody in the world.''

And he's doing it his way, writing songs that go far beyond the depth of what's current on mainstream country radio.

"I think we have the upper hand, because that stuff is flash in the pan,'' he said. "I'm hoping to reach people and touch their souls with something they will show their children.

"I'm not trying to write the hit song of the summer, and the hit song of next summer,'' Nelson said.

"There is a formula to success in radio right now - some tall, handsome, good-lookin' guy with a low voice who sings about [excrement],'' he said.

"There are a lot of people out there who are looking for vulnerability in music, and real art,'' Nelson said. "They're not just looking for entertainment and puppy love.

"While these guys are merging rap and all this stuff, trying to follow the trend, eventually you're going to lose who you are in the sense that you're just going to be chasing a dragon,'' he said. "You might make a lot of money, but it's not going to be worth it in the end.''

Songs like "Set Me Down on a Cloud,'' "Runnin' Shine,'' "Carolina,'' "High Times'' (hey, he's a Nelson boy, and golf isn't the only hobby that runs in the family) and especially "Just Outside of Austin'' are testaments to the gene pool. They're sometimes sweet, sometimes humorous and always enthralling.

But there's also the Young influence - the band spent the last four years working with Young, and was his studio band for "The Monsanto Years'' and the tour that followed it.

"It's just like a master class with the greatest master,'' said Nelson of Young's tutelage, and noted that in many ways he is responsible for "the subtle ways we've grown and the not-so-subtle ways we've grown.''

It's a growth process that is sure to continue, as well. After all, it takes a while to reach legend status.
Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real
What: Outlaw Music Festival, featuring Willie Nelson & Family.
When: 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15.
Also on the bill: The Avett Brothers, Sheryl Crow, Micah Nelson.
Tickets: $30 to $125, plus fees, at the box office, online at ticketmaster.com and livenation.com and by phone at 1-800-745-3000.

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Article Lukas Nelson: Willie's son has his dad's genes, but his own remarkable style compiled by Original article here

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