Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real

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Lukas Nelson
Lukas Nelson.jpg
Lukas Nelson performing at Farm Aid, 2009
Background information
Also known as POTR
Origin Venice, California, United States
Genres Rock and Roll
Years active 2008–present
Labels Tone Tide Records
Associated acts Willie Nelson
BB King
John Fogerty
Grace Potter and The Nocturnals
Neil Young
Members Lukas Nelson
Anthony Logerfo
Tato Melgar
Corey McCormick

Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real – sometimes referred to as POTR – is an American rock group based in California. [1] The band consists of Lukas Nelson (vocals/guitar), Anthony Logerfo (drums), Corey McCormick (bass), and Tato Melgar (percussion). Lukas is the son of Willie Nelson.

In 2015, the band, alongside Lukas's brother Micah Nelson, became Canadian musician Neil Young's backing band on his thirty-sixth studio album, The Monsanto Years, and its accompanying tour.


Formation of Promise of the Real[edit]

Lukas Autry Nelson moved from Paia, Hawaii to Los Angeles in 2007 to attend Loyola Marymount University. In early 2008, Lukas met drummer Anthony LoGerfo at a Neil Young concert. Shortly after, the two began playing music together in Seal Beach, CA.

In October 2008 Lukas dropped out of college to pursue his music career full-time. Lukas called Anthony Logerfo (drummer), Tato Melgar (percussionist), Merlyn Kelly (bassist), and formed Promise of the Real.

Live Beginnings (2008–2009)[edit]

Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real performing live in 2012

The band played their first shows in the fall of 2008. They begin selling their first EP “Live Beginnings” to pay for touring costs. The album contained live tracks recorded off the soundboard at the world famous “Belly Up” in Solana Beach, CA.

In January 2009, the band began a nine-show tour opening for Willie Nelson including a five night stop at The Fillmore in San Francisco. Next was a two-week tour with B.B. King through Wyoming, Colorado and Nebraska. Over the course of these dates, the band had completely sold out their stock of “Live Beginnings” CDs.[2]

Brando's Paradise Sessions EP and Departure of Merlyn Kelly (2009)[edit]

In April 2009 Promise of the Real released their first self-released studio recording entitled Brando’s Paradise Sessions EP. Lukas’ brother Micah Nelson designed the artwork for the album and paints on stage with the band. The cover art became the basis for the band’s signature Peace Sign logo. To date, Brando’s Paradise Sessions EP has sold over 10,000 copies.

Founding bassist Merlyn Kelly left the band to pursue other interests in the summer of 2009 and the band used two bass players before finding Merlyn’s permanent replacement. The band used long time friend and mentor, John Avila of Oingo Boingo, for numerous performances throughout 2009–10 as well as friend JP Maramba [3] After a few months the band finally found their new full-time permanent bassist, Corey McCormick. McCormick was an industry veteran, having performed with multiple bands and musicians including Chris Cornell of Soundgarden.[4]

Promise of the Real and Touring Appearances (2010–2012)[edit]

On December 21, 2010, the band released their much anticipated first full-length record, the self-titled “Promise of the Real.” "Promise of the Real" was recorded in Austin, TX at Pedernales Studios in March 2010.

Cover art for the record was created by the 6 year old daughter of album engineer Steve Chadie. The remainder of the artwork was provided by Micah Nelson, which included a booklet of collected works created by Micah live on stage with the band.

The album consists of 12 official tracks and 1 bonus track. Throughout the record, the band’s multi-genre influences can be heard on every track with a diverse collection of sounds and styles.

The album also pays homage to two of Lukas’s main influences, Jimi Hendrix and Neil Young, through creative renditions of a “Pali Gap” / “Hey Baby, ”and “LA” respectively.[5] There’s also a cover of the song “Peaceful Solution” co-written by Lukas's father Willie Nelson and sister Amy Niccore. Lukas’s dad also offers backing vocals on “Sound of Your Memory” and “Fathers and Mothers.” Lukas’s aunt, Bobbie Nelson, plays piano on "Fathers and Mothers".

Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real toured heavily across the US during 2011 while they promoted their recently released album “Promise of the Real.” Over the course of the year, they played over 200 shows. Major festival appearances included Stagecoach, Farm Aid, Bridge School Benefit, Sturgis Buffalo Chip Campground, Willie Nelson’s Country Throwdown Tour. 2011 also included the band’s first national TV appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and the Late Show with David Letterman.[6]

The band frequently opened shows for Willie Nelson again in 2012, and Lukas would then do double-duty and play in his father's part of the show.

Wasted (2012)[edit]

The band released their second full length studio album, Wasted, on April 3, 2012. Following the album's release the band embarked on a national tour beginning April 6 at Antone’s Nightclub in Austin, TX.

Lukas and the band were also featured on an exclusive webcast through Yahoo Music that was shot at TRI Studios (Bob Weir’s studio). The webcast aired on April 17, 2012 and has been viewed by hundreds of thousands of people. Along with the webcast, the band was featured as the homepage artist on Yahoo music.[7]

On May 1, 2012, Live Nation announced that Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real would be acting as direct support for John Fogerty on his coast to coast tour of Canada set September 8 – 29, 2012.

Willie Nelson's Heroes (2012)[edit]

Willie Nelson’s album Heroes released on May 15, 2012 featured Lukas playing guitar and/or singing on 10 out of 14 tracks.

Willie and Promise of the Real performed a cover of Pearl Jam’s Just Breathe live on Willie’s Roadhouse channel on Sirius XM on May 15, 2012. Lukas and Willie also performed “Texas Flood” on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on May 14, 2012.

The Monsanto Years[edit]

The band played on Neil Young's album The Monsanto Years and the protest song "A Rock Star Bucks A Coffee Shop" which is the single from the album. The song is aimed at Starbucks, and its use of genetically modified food and in particular Monsanto.[8] On 31st May 2015, the song was Video of the week on the Food Consumer website.[9] The album is the thirty-sixth studio album for Young.[10]


Studio albums[edit]

Album Release Date
Promise of the Real December 21, 2010
Wasted April 3, 2012


Album Release Date
Brando's Paradise Sessions EP June 2009

Live recordings[edit]

Album Release Date
Live Beginnings October 2008
Live Endings December 2012


External links[edit]