Zero Mile Presents
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real
Mon · May 13, 2019
Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm
$25.00 - $30.00
This event is 18 and overhttp://www.georgiatheatre.com/event/1834732/
These experiences were undoubtedly invaluable, but none of what has come before will prepare you for the cosmic country soul of Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, the band’s new, self-titled album, a mesmerizing, emotionally genuine, endlessly rewarding work set for release on Fantasy Records. From the epic “Set Me Down on a Cloud” to the climactic “If I Started Over,” the album delivers one sublime song and inspired performance after another.
“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. “I wanted to get the songs as pure as they could be. 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. We’ve grown.”
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, produced by song-shaping specialist John Alagia (numerous Dave Matthews Band LPs, John Mayer’s Room for Squares) 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). Stefani “Lady Gaga” Germanotta (who convincingly plays the role of Bonnie to Lukas’ Delaney) 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, evoking Exile on Main St.’s ecstatic, gospel-rooted harmonies.
The band’s many influences can be discerned in the opening track, “Set Me Down on a Cloud,” a soulful country rocker that features Lucius’ spiritual vocals and an extended solo underscores Lukas’ tasteful guitar virtuosity.
The lilting, pastoral “Just Outside of Austin” features a guitar solo from Willie, while Lukas’ 86-year-old Aunt Bobbi plays piano. “It’s a love letter to Austin, something like Roger Miller or Glen Campbell would write,” he said.
“Runnin’ Shine,” one of the album’s first-person character studies, is written from the perspective of a young moonshiner trying to outsmart the law while hurtling along Appalachian back roads in a souped-up car loaded with homemade booze. “Perspective is huge,” says Lukas. “If you’re able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and you can relate to them, it’s really hard to hate them, even if you don’t agree with how they live their life.”
Two of the album’s most breathtaking songs, “Find Yourself” and “Forget About Georgia,” vividly retrace the turbulent final stages and bittersweet aftermath of the same doomed love affair. “After the relationship ended, I had to play Ray Charles’ “Georgia on My Mind” every night when I was on the road with my dad, which made it literally impossible to forget about her.” Introduced by a wistful four-note guitar lick that reoccurs throughout the arrangement, “Forget About Georgia” unfolds to a “Layla”-like outpouring of romantic yearning, as the band stretches out behind Lukas’ emotional guitar soloing. Not surprisingly, it’s Young’s favorite song on the album.
Inspired by the big ballads of Roy Orbison and Elvis Presley, Lukas delivers a full-throttle vocal on the closing track, “If I Started Over,” at once a cosmic rumination and a rapturous expression of romantic devotion. “The song is asking, what if, after we die, we just come back? What if we have to do the same dream again until we learn the right lessons?
A seasoned veteran at 28, Austin-born Lukas grew up in Maui, while spending much of his time during school breaks in his hometown and on the road with his dad. “I had a lot of passions growing up,” he says. “I played soccer, I was on the swim team, living a Maui lifestyle, surfing and skateboarding. I also loved singing and wrote my first song when I was 11. I became obsessed with guitar, playing eight to 10 hours a day. I knew what I wanted to do from a super-young age, and I made my life about it.” He and his brother Micah played in bands together in high school, and they struck up a friendship with Uruguay-born Tato Melgar, a skilled musician then making his living as a landscaper, who taught the brothers the basics of drumming.
In 2007, Lukas headed to the mainland to attend L.A.’s Loyola Marymount University. A year later, after meeting LoGerfo at a Neil Young concert, he dropped out of school and started a band with LoGerfo, Melgar and original bassist Merlyn Kelly; he named it Promise of the Real, referencing a line in Young’s 1973 song “Walk On”: “Sooner or later it all gets real.” When McCormick joined two years later on bass, the POTR lineup was set. The band woodshedded; averaging more than 200 shows a year. Drawing on Lukas’ lineage as well surrogate uncles like Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings, and the classic rock and roll of J.J. Cale, The Band, Clapton era Delaney and Bonnie and of course mentor Neil Young, they began to develop their own distinctive style of American music.
Young befriended the band after checking them out 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. So we recorded The Monsanto Years and played some shows together, and we fell in love with each other musically, one thing led to another and we became Neil’s band.
“What’s happened with us feels similar to the career trajectory of The Band,” he continues. “They were already a great band when they started working with Dylan, who lifted them up, which is similar to what Neil’s done for us. He’s also given people a chance to hear what we’re doing and what our own songs have to offer. Then we played the Desert Trip with Neil, along with Paul McCartney, the Stones, the Who and Dylan. That was incredible.”
Those two weekends in Indio last October turned out to be extremely fortuitous. “We met Lucius at Desert Trip,” says Lukas. “They were playing with Roger Waters—and still are. Then they came to the Bridge School Benefit, where we really got to know them. I love Jess and Holly—they really enhance the record.”
Bradley Cooper also saw Lukas play at Desert Trip, and right afterward contacted a mutual friend about helping him on the new film he’s directing and starring in, a remake of A Star is Born. “At first I was just helping him out, and then I started writing with Stefani (Lady Gaga), who’s in the movie. We connected and she and I became really close. I got very involved in this film and ended up bringing the band into it as well.”
Coming of age in a celebrated musical family, Lukas Nelson learned early on that true originality is hard won, never given. Doubtlessly blessed with a measure of musical ability, it’s clear that his natural gifts have been honed by a singular devotion to craft and a deep appreciation for the sacrifice a creative life requires. Elated by the way things have come together so beautifully, Lukas is gratified that POTR have earned this moment and seized the opportunities that have led to this album—all perfectly capturing what he’d heard in his head 18 months earlier.
“It’s just amazing how things have flowed,” Lukas marvels. “It feels divine in a way.”
Some might assert that their sound is Americana, while others may consider them to be true rock ‘n’ rollers. Regardless of what fans like to call them, the Alabama-born, Nashville-bred quintet is pulling themselves up by the bootstraps just in time for 2018, forging ahead into the future by avoiding pigeon holes.
A group of five musicians with myriad influences between them, The Vegabonds are fronted by lead vocalist and songwriter Daniel Allen, with Richard Forehand (lead guitar/vocals), Paul Bruens (bass), Beau Cooper (keys/vocals), and Bryan Harris (drums) rounding out the quintet.
The Vegabonds released their critically acclaimed record, “What We’re Made Of,” with the help of Grammy-nominated producer Tom Tapley, whose portfolio includes that of Elton John and Bruce Springsteen, among others. Tapley returned to record The Vegabonds’ latest single, “Long Haired Country Boy,” now available on iTunes and Spotify.
“Long Haired Country Boy” gives listeners a taste of the upcoming album slated for early next year as they breathe new life into the Charlie Daniels Band’s country classic. Their modernized rendition of this legendary ballad pays homage to the hard-working, blue-collar lifestyle of the Deep South, but with an electrified, psychedelic intensity that only The Vegabonds can conceive. As they steadily become one of the most sought after, highly-acclaimed Southern Rock bands in music, The Vegabonds’ roots run deep, even alongside the fan base having now extended across the U.S. and Europe. Their devotion to music and their tireless tour schedule illustrates their laser-sharp focus on growing into one of the biggest names out of Nashville, while never forgetting their humble beginnings.
The Vegabonds got their start in 2009 by playing the college circuit across the Southeastern United States. Their popularity quickly burgeoned to the point that they found their fans singing along word-for-word to their first hits like “Georgia Fire” and “American Eyes.” From Ole Miss to South Carolina, students were buzzing about The Vegabonds’ authentic sound and their seemingly effortless ability to bring the house down. Through pure word of mouth, the group’s fan base grew rapidly, and the guys learned they had something distinctive with their eclectic mix of Southern Rock, Country, and earnest songwriting.
With a sound reminiscent of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers mixed with the grit and twang of the Allman Brothers Band, The Vegabonds give their fans a sensational performance with powerhouse guitar riffs and impactful songwriting night after night. Their hard work and unbridled talents have not gone unnoticed; the group has opened for such notable acts as Lynyrd Skynyrd, the late Gregg Allman, and Kid Rock, among others. Rousing performances at festivals like Peach Fest, Magnolia Fest, Sunfest, and Toadlick grew their notoriety nationwide, leading to a west coast tour that formed in-roads with the music and comedy community in Los Angeles. It’s no wonder that Live for Live Music has compared them to musical legends like My Morning Jacket and The Black Crowes, calling them “a force to be reckoned with,” complete with “gorgeous harmonies and impressive instrumental skills mak[ing] for a perfect combination.”
With their focus on growth, The Vegabonds have much in store for old and new fans alike. Upon returning from their third European tour, the band’s focus will shift to perfecting their highly-anticipated new album, slated for release in early 2018. With a new management and publicity team behind them, their New South Rock sound is destined to reach an even broader audience than ever before. The band is excited to bring in new blood to achieve their overall strategic vision.
Born in Alabama. Bred in Nashville. Seasoned by the Road. Celebrated the world over. Come let your hair down with The Vegabonds.
The Vegabonds are...
Daniel Allen (Lead Vocals)
Richard Forehand (Guitars/Vocals)
Paul Bruens – (Bass)
Beau Cooper – (Keys/Vocals)
Bryan Harris – (Drums)
215 N. Lumpkin St
Athens, GA, 30601