What started as a shared love and admiration for the sound and spirit of Neil Young’s music and message later blossomed into touring the world and playing songs inspired by their favorite artist.
Lukas Nelson (son of legendary musician and activist Willie Nelson) said he has felt connected to the singer for as long as he can remember.
On Friday, Dec. 11, music will connect the two together again as Nelson performs with location formerly owned by Neil Young and operhis band, Promise of the Real, at Casa Escobar, a ated as the Crazy Horse Saloon.
“Music is such a deep and powerful entity,” Nelson said. “It’s the closest we have to being spiritual, to having the spirit manifested in the physically realm. I think it’s a lot deeper than that. I think it’s almost like anytime you trip or stumble into music — even if by accident — it’s almost like it just takes you on a journey and there’s no turning back. And, that’s what happened with me.”
Nelson used growing up in a musically inclined family to his advantage and spent time learning how to play instruments to better bond with his famous father.
“I started playing music to get closer to my dad,” Nelson said. “Because he was gone all of the time, I figured I could do something to get closer to and relate to him more. That’s what made me start, but that was just the introduction.”
When he met future band mate, drummer Anthony Logerfo, at a Neil Young concert in 2008, he knew the time was right to form a new band, a new sound celebrating a shared love of Young.
“I always felt a deep connection with Neil and his music, like millions have, but I just somehow knew that we were going to end up — if I continued on the path that I was on — that we were going to end up collaborating in some way or that he would like our music,” Nelson said. “And, it turned out that he does.”
After the fateful meeting in 2008, Nelson and Logerfo recruited Corey McCormick, Tato Melgar and Nelson’s brother Micah, and aptly named the band Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real as an ode to a favorite Young song.
“I named the band Promise of the Real after a Neil Young song called ‘Walk On,’” Nelson shared. “One of the lines in that song is ‘sooner or later it all gets real.’ I took that to heart and named the band Promise of the Real, and that’s who we’ve been for the last nine years.”
The band has had the opportunity to work with their idol Young, and both toured with him and recorded an album as his backup band. The band tours heavily as Promise of the Real, performing overseas and throughout the United States with 250-300 shows per year, up until recently when they scaled back schedules to roughly 150-200 shows in 2015.
“We love touring and we love being on the road,” Nelson said. “We feel like our live show is really what we do. We have a new record coming out February 26 … And, then we’ve got even a follow-up record almost done. It looks like 2016 is going to be a really good year for Promise of the Real, a good year for traveling with Neil and with my dad as well — I play with him when I can.”
They’ve seen the lights from large festival stages at Farm Aid, South by Southwest, Lollapalooza and Stagecoach, and have performed on every late night television show — a first and major milestone for a self-released indie band.
Nelson praised fans and music lovers for the high energy consumed from the stage — what he says is a requirement for the ultimate performance.
“They say that music portrays the inner state of the one who plays it,” Nelson said. “So if you’re in a state of transcendence when you’re playing with the band and you’re connected and locked with the band … and you’re like a well-oiled machine or a great soccer team where you don’t even have to think about what you’re doing and you’re just there. You’re in the flow, and sometimes the audience, if they’re open and things are right, the audience will be looped into this transference, this cycle of energy between us and them, and then they become a part of that flow and nights can turn into magic really quickly that way.”
For more information about the Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real or for tickets to the Dec. 11 performance, visit livefrommalibu.com.