Re­view: Lukas Nel­son de­liv­ers soul­ful, strik­ing songs

“Lukas Nel­son & Prom­ise of the Real” (Fan­tasy Records)

Sun.Star Cebu Weekend - - Content - Re­view: Scott Bauer

First, let’s just get this out there: Lukas Nel­son sounds a lot like his fa­mous dad, the red-headed stranger bet­ter known as Wil­lie Nel­son. Se­condly, don’t let the strik­ing sim­i­lar­i­ties in their vo­cal styles and de­liv­er­ies cloud your judg­ment of the younger Nel­son. At 28, he is the real deal and de­serves to be treated se­ri­ously in­de­pen­dent of his fa­ther’s legacy.

On his lat­est self- ti­tled re­lease with his six-piece band Prom­ise of the Real, Lukas Nel­son de­liv­ers a haunt­ing col­lec­tion of 12 songs that’s steeped in mu­si­cal in­flu­ences from his dad to re­cently departed Glen Camp­bell, Way­lon Jen­nings and Neil Young — whom Prom­ise of the Real has backed.

Lady Gaga ap­pears on a cou­ple tracks and vo­cal­ists Jess Wolfe and Holly Les­sig of the in­die-pop group Lu­cius back Nel­son on the open­ing, and best, tune “Set Me Down on a Cloud.” Nel­son’s quiv­er­ing vo­cals over more than 7-minute coun­try­rock bal­lad, ac­cented by his lilt­ing gui­tar and Lu­cius’ singing, is enough to give you goose­bumps.

“Set me down on a cloud, with my soul turned in­side out,” Nel­son sings in the song he’s said is about a friend whose child died in an ac­ci­dent. He de­liv­ers it so con­vinc­ingly, you know ex­actly how he feels.

It’s a bold, and in­spired, choice to open the record and sets the tone for the en­tire soul­ful col­lec­tion that should make his dad proud.

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