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 asPOTR
OriginVenice, Los Angeles, California, United States
GenresRock, country rock, roots rock
Years active2008–present
Associated actsWillie Nelson
BB King
John Fogerty
Grace Potter and The Nocturnals
Neil Young
Stevie Ray Vaughan
MembersLukas Nelson
Anthony LoGerfo
Tato Melgar
Corey McCormick
Logan Metz

Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, sometimes referred to as POTR, is an American country rock group based in California.[1] The band consists of Lukas Nelson (lead vocals, guitar), Anthony LoGerfo (drums, percussion, vocals), Corey McCormick (bass guitar, vocals), Logan Metz (keyboards, lap steel, guitar, harmonica, vocals), and Tato Melgar (percussion). Lukas is the son of country music legend Willie Nelson.

Since 2015, Promise of the Real have been Canadian musician Neil Young's regular backing band. The band has recorded two studio albums with Young, The Monsanto Years (2015) and The Visitor (2017), a soundtrack album, Paradox (2018), and a live album, Earth (2016).


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 2008, Nelson met drummer Anthony LoGerfo at a Neil Young concert and they began playing music together in Seal Beach, California.

Nelson dropped out of college in October 2008 to pursue a music career. He contacted 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 its first shows in the fall of 2008, selling its first EP Live Beginnings to pay for touring. The album contained live tracks recorded at the “Belly Up” venue in Solana Beach, California.

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. Following the Wille Nelson tour the band embarked on a two-week tour with B.B. King through Wyoming, Utah, Colorado and Nebraska.[2]

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

In April 2009, Promise of the Real released its first self-released studio recording, Brando’s Paradise Sessions. The EP's cover art became the basis for the band’s Peace Sign logo.

Original bassist Merlyn Kelly left the band in 2009. Corey McCormick became the band's bass player in 2010. McCormick had performed with Chris Cornell of Soundgarden.[3]

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

The band released its first album, Promise of the Real, in December 2010.

Promise of the Real was recorded in Austin, Texas at Pedernales Studios in March 2010. Album engineer Steve Chadie's 6-year-old daughter provided the cover art. The album also contains a booklet of paintings and illustrations created on stage by Lukas Nelson's brother, Micah, during the band's concerts.

The album consists of 12 tracks and one bonus track. The band paid homage to two of Nelson’s influences, Jimi Hendrix and Neil Young , in the songs “Pali Gap/Hey Baby" and “L.A.”, respectively.[4] The band covered “Peaceful Solution,” a song written by Nelson's father, Willie Nelson, and his sister Amy Niccore. Willie Nelson sang back up on “Sound of Your Memory” and “Fathers and Mothers”. Nelson’s aunt, Bobbie Nelson, played piano on "Fathers and Mothers".

Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real played more than 200 shows across the United States during 2011, promoting “Promise of the Real.” Major festival appearances included Stagecoach, Farm Aid, Bridge School Benefit, Sturgis Buffalo Chip Campground and Willie Nelson’s Country Throwdown Tour. The band also made national TV appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and the Late Show with David Letterman.[5]

The band frequently opened shows for Willie Nelson in 2012 during which Nelson played with his father's band.

Wasted (2012)[edit]

The band released its second studio album, Wasted, on April 3, 2012. Following the album's release, the band embarked on a national tour at Antone’s Nightclub in Austin, Texas.

The band was featured on a 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. The band was featured as the homepage artist on Yahoo music.[6]

On May 1, 2012, Live Nation announced that Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real would back John Fogerty on his coast-to-coast tour of Canada in September 2012.

Willie Nelson's Heroes (2012)[edit]

Willie Nelson’s album Heroes released on May 15, 2012, featured Lukas Nelson on 10 of the 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. Nelson and his father performed "Texas Flood" on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on May 14, 2012.

Collaborations with Neil Young[edit]

Nelson’s friend Neil Young jammed with the band in Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real after Farm Aid 2014.[7]

The Monsanto Years (2015)[edit]

In January 2015, Neil Young and the band, including non-member Micah, recorded the concept album The Monsanto Years. The album includes "A Rock Star Bucks A Coffee Shop" which targets Starbucks and its use of genetically modified food. POTR and Micah Nelson toured as Young's backing band in 2015 and 2016.

The album recording and live rehearsals were filmed by Don Hannah in April 2015 for a film also entitled The Monsanto Years.[7]

Earth (2016)[edit]

On June 17, 2016, the live album Earth was released. It was recorded during the band's Rebel Content Tour in 2015 and featured live performances augmented by studio overdubs and nature and animal sounds.

The Visitor (2017)[edit]

On November 3, 2017, Young announced a new album with Promise of the Real. The album, entitled The Visitor, was released December 1 and included a song called "Already Great".[8]

Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real (2017)[edit]

The band's Fantasy Records self-titled debut album, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, was released on August 25, 2017. [9] The album hit No. 1 on the Americana Radio Chart the week of November 10, 2017 [10] Lady Gaga, with whom Nelson was collaborating with on A Star Is Born, provided backing vocals on two tracks. The album earned the band its first Americana Music Awards nomination for Duo/Group of the Year[11].

Willie Nelson & The Boys (Willie's Stash, Vol. 2) (2017)[edit]

On October 20th, 2017, Legacy Recordings released "Willie Nelson and the Boys (Willie’s Stash, Vol. 2)", a family collaboration showcasing Willie Nelson, Lukas and Micah performing a selection of American country music classics, including seven penned by Hank Williams, Sr.[12]

A Star Is Born (2018)[edit]

A Star Is Born, directed by Bradley Cooper and starring Cooper and Lady Gaga, was released in October 2018.[13] Nelson co-produced the music for the film, writing songs with Gaga, after being hired as an authenticity consultant to Cooper. Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real appear in the film as Bradley Cooper's band. Nelson won a BAFTA Award for Original Music for his work on the film.


Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions Sales




Promise of the Real
  • Release date: April 3, 2012
  • Label: Tone Tide Records
  • Formats: CD, digital download
Something Real 19 16
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real 2 35 19 10
Turn Off the News (Build a Garden) 151 19 9 4
"—" denotes releases that did not chart


Title Album details Peak chart positions Sales
The Monsanto Years
(with Neil Young)
  • Released: June 29, 2015
  • Label: Reprise
21 23 13 27 14 38 47 24
The Visitor
(with Neil Young)
  • Released: December 1, 2017
  • Label: Reprise
167 85 25 39 36 32 65


Album Release date
Brando's Paradise Sessions EP June 2009

Live recordings[edit]

Album Release date
Live Beginnings October 2008
Live Endings December 2012
Earth (with Neil Young) June 2016

Other appearances[edit]

Album Release date
My Little Pony: The Movie September 22, 2017
The Ranch April 1, 2016
Dumb and Dumber To November 7, 2014


  1. ^ Bookey, Mike. "Out on his Own | Music | The Pacific Northwest Inlander | News, Politics, Music, Calendar, Events in Spokane, Coeur d'Alene and the Inland Northwest". Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  2. ^ " - an online service of the Salina Journal". December 7, 2010. Archived from the original on December 7, 2010. Retrieved October 17, 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  3. ^ "A conversation with Chris Cornell by Clare O'Brien". June 22, 2007. Archived from the original on June 22, 2007. Retrieved October 17, 2017.
  4. ^ Ruehl, Kim (April 29, 2015). "Review: Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real". Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  5. ^ "Lukas Nelson". Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  6. ^ Billy Johnson (April 18, 2012). "Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real Master Blues, Rock, Folk and Soul in Webcast". Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  7. ^ a b Gensler, Andy (June 16, 2015). "Neil Young's Corporate Targets Respond to Him Calling Them Out on New Album". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media.
  8. ^ "Neil Young Announces New Album The Visitor, Shares "Already Great": Listen | Pitchfork". November 3, 2017. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  9. ^ "Hear Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real's Soulful Songs From New LP". Rolling Stone. July 6, 2017. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  10. ^ "Lukas Nelson & Promise Of The Real Hit #1 On Americana Radio Chart - Lukas Nelson". Lukas Nelson. November 10, 2017. Retrieved November 14, 2017.
  11. ^ "Americana Announces 2018 Honors & Awards Nominees -".
  12. ^ "'Willie Nelson and the Boys (Willie's Stash, Vol. 2)' Set To Release on October 20". Legacy Recordings. September 19, 2017. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  13. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (September 22, 2017). "Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper's 'A Star Is Born' Moves Up To Next Summer". Deadline. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  14. ^ "Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real Chart history: Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  15. ^ "Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real - Chart history (Top Country Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  16. ^ "Lukas Nelson - Chart history (Heatseekers Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  17. ^ "Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real - Chart history (Independent Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  18. ^ "Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real Chart history (Americana/Folk Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  19. ^ Bjorke, Matt (January 14, 2019). "Top 10 Country Albums Chart: January 14, 2019". Roughstock. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Neil Young - Chart history (Billboard 200)". Billboard.
  22. ^ "Australian Albums". Hung Medien.
  23. ^ "Neil Young - The Monsanto Years" (in German). GfK Entertainment.
  24. ^ "All chart peaks from 2000-present". FIMI.
  25. ^ "Dutch Albums".
  26. ^ "Norwegian Albums".
  27. ^ "Swedish Albums".
  28. ^ "UK Albums".
  29. ^ a b "Upcoming Releases". Hits Daily Double. HITS Digital Ventures. Archived from the original on June 2, 2016.

External links[edit]