IN THE MIX: Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real are playing at Bluesfest this year.
IN THE MIX: Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real are playing at Bluesfest this year. Jim Eckenrode

Willie Nelson’s son, Lukas, makes Aussie debut

LUKAS Nelson first picked up a guitar at the age of 11 to fulfil a promise he made to his father, iconic country musician Willie Nelson.

Since then, music has been his life and now Lukas and his band, Promise of the Real, prepare for their first Australian tour, bringing their self-described brand of 'cowboy hippy surf rock' to Bluesfest.

In explaining how the band came to be eight years ago, Lukas reveals why Promise of the Real won't have trouble fitting in in Byron Bay.

"The band started when I met the drummer (Anthony Logerfo) at a Neil Young concert and we went surfing that night under the pier," he said.

"I got stung by a stingray and he brought me to his couch, this was back in LA… he put my foot in hot water and he brought out this pile of weed and we rolled joints and listened to Neil Young all night and knew we'd be best friends and started the band Promise of the Real based on our love for Neil Young."

That shared passion has seen the band come full circle, having recently hit the studio with none other than Neil Young as the backing band on the music legends thirty-sixth studio album, The Monsanto Years, and its accompanying tour.

"It was incredible. Neil asked us if we wanted to record and obviously we said yes. We went in there and spent six week in the studio with him and basically lived down there in Oxnard California where this old theatre is.

"There were a couple of great surf breaks so we'd wake up and go surfing in the morning and then go and record with Neil Young at night, it was pretty much heaven on earth.

"The name Promise of the Real actually came from a Neil Young song called Walk On - 'some get stoned, some get strange, sooner or later it all gets real'," Lukas said.

While Bluesfest will be the band's first trip to Australia, Lukas himself has been Down Under before as part of his father's tour.

"I've been to Australia a bunch with my dad back when he was touring with Jonny Cash and Waylon Arnold Jennings and Kris Kristofferson and we'd done a couple of trips all over Australia," he said.

This time around Lukas said he is most looking forward to hitting the waves in Byron and says no amount of shark activity will keep him from the water.

"Those are happening all over, here in the States too," he said.

"Man, I figured we're in their soup and I really love surfing and I'm not gonna stop because people are getting attacked like that.

"I think that you just have to be a little more careful and always surf in a crowd and just hope that your karma is good. I don't eat shark for that reason, because I don't want them to eat me."



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