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Style El Dorado County Foothills

Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real Return to the Area

03/30/2015 07:10AM ● By Brenna McGowan

Rock 'n' roll is alive and kicking!  With 400 gigs over the last three years the band has a huge following and they’re gaining “Realers” every step of the way. 

Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real can be summed up in just a few words, bona-fide rock 'n' roll.  Keeping it real since 2008, P.O.T.R. has been touring pretty much year round and it doesn’t look like they will be stopping anytime soon.

When I caught up with Lukas he had just flown into Seattle to meet up with P.O.T.R. for a gig they were playing that evening.  He told me he had just spent the last week and a half traveling and playing alongside his dad (Willie) along the East Coast, Nashville and finishing up in his hometown, Austin, TX.  

What is your favorite part of being on tour?

There is a sense of abandonment of time, so to speak.  You don’t really care what day it is.  You don’t really know what day it is even if you did care. (laughs) 

 Where did the name "Promise of the Real" come from?

It came from a Neil Young song called "Walk On" and the lyrics are, “Some get stoned, some get strange, sooner or later it all gets real”. Anthony and I were at a Neil Young concert–that is how we met through a mutual friend. Anthony and I were jamming the hardest out of everyone there. We started the band right after that--kind of based on Neil. The fact that we are now playing with him is just amazing. It’s caused us all to really step back and look at the big picture and say hey, maybe there is something at work here, ya know? That or it’s just hard work. I don’t know, it’s crazy, but it’s a manifestation of it all and how comfortable we are with Neil and how much we love playing with him. It’s just an incredible thing.

You guys are in the process of recording your next record, how is that going?

We just finished mixing the record… We are tentatively now calling it Something Real and it’s amazing.  We are really stoked on it.  I think we are all in agreement that this is the best work we have ever done. Songs I’ve written that I am really proud of and it’s rock n roll and then there are slower ballads but they are still pretty much rock ballads. It’s so much fun to hear it all done. It’s been two years since we released anything. We are really stoked and it should be out, we’re hoping, in the next two months.

The band has been together since 2008, how would you say you have evolved since then? 

We’ve grown so much in so many different ways. We learn really quickly. We’ve played with so many new people and every new person you play with teaches you more about being a musician. You never stop learning; I think we’ve grown exponentially since we started. A lot more musical material we’re doing and especially in this new record we just did.

What bands influenced you growing up?

Jimmy Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, my dad, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Nirvana, Pearl Jam.  Anything really that I could get my hands on. I never really let genre stop me, I’ve always liked different types of music. 

What was the first concert you ever went to? 

Well I grew up traveling with my dad so when I was a toddler I was out on tour with The Highwaymen. I would say that is one of the first concerts I had ever been to. The Highwaymen were a super group that my dad had in the late 80’s early 90’s with Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings.They would travel all around and I would travel with them.

What is one misconception about you or the band?

A lot of times people label us as a country act, which I do like country and I can sing country and plan on doing a country record very soon, but that is not what we are. We are a rock 'n' roll band!

I’m sure you get lots of gifts from fans, what’s the weirdest gift you’ve gotten?

Somebody gave us a big fire pit that had our P.O.T.R. peace sign on it that they had made for us. It was this big metal thing and they gave it to us on the bus (laughing) and we barely had room for it, you know. So random but it was cool.

I was on your website and I found the “give” page. What compels you to give back and why is it important to you?

I believe in nature everything takes as much as it can give back. Everything is give and receives--it’s a symbiosis. Bee’s and flowers have that relationship; plants and us have that symbiotic relationship. I think it is important to give back as much as you receive if not give back more than you receive. We all live together and we should be working like nature.

 If you could have written any song, past or present, what would it be?

"Blowing in the Wind" by Bob Dylan 

 If you were not a professional musician what other career path would have seen yourself in?

I’d probably be a writer or an athlete. I used to be on the swim team, I like to keep in shape.

If you want to rock with Lukas Nelson & The Promise of the Real make sure and check them out at the Harris Center on April 10.  For tickets and more information go to For more info on the band visit

Written by Cait Herrera. Picture courtesy of Harris Center for the Arts.

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