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. To date, they have recorded two studio albums with Young - The Monsanto Years (2015) and The Visitor (2017) - alongside 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 early 2008, Nelson met drummer Anthony LoGerfo at a Neil Young concert. Shortly after, the two began playing music together in Seal Beach, California.

In October 2008, Nelson 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 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 famed “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. Next was a two-week tour with B.B. King through Wyoming, Utah, Colorado and Nebraska. Before the tours ended the band had sold all its “Live Beginnings” CDs.[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 full-time bass player in 2010. McCormick had performed with Chris Cornell of Soundgarden[3] and other bands.

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 "official" tracks and 1 bonus track. The band pays homage to two of Lukas’s main influences, Jimi Hendrix and Neil Young - “Pali Gap/Hey Baby" and “L.A.”, respectively.[4] The band also covers “Peaceful Solution,” a song written by Nelson's father, Willie Nelson, and his sister Amy Niccore. Willie Nelson sings back up on “Sound of Your Memory” and “Fathers and Mothers”. Lukas’s aunt, Bobbie Nelson, plays 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 again in 2012 during which Lukas played with his father's band.

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, Texas.

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.[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 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.

Collaborations with Neil Young[edit]

Young had a long-time friendship with Willie Nelson's sons Lukas and Micah and jammed with Lukas' bandmates in Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real after Farm Aid 2014.[7]

The Monsanto Years (2015)[edit]

The following January, Neil Young and the band —including non-member Micah— began recording 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 recording was filmed by Don Hannah alongside live rehearsals in April 2015 for a film also entitled The Monsanto Years.[7]

Earth (2016)[edit]

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

The Visitor (2017)[edit]

On November 3 2017, Young announced a new album with Promise of the Real that was released December 1 entitled The Visitor and shared a new song from it 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 25th, 2017. [9] The album hit #1 on the Americana Radio Chart the week of November 10th, 2017 [10] Lady Gaga (whom Nelson was collaborating with on A Star Is Born) provided backing vocals on two tracks. The album earned the band their 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, this time showcasing Willie and sons, Lukas Nelson and Micah Nelson, performing a selection of well-loved American country music standards and classics, including seven penned by the immortal 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] Lukas Nelson co-produced the music for the film, writing songs with Gaga, after being hired as an authenticity consultant to Bradley Cooper. Lukas Nelson & Promise of The Real appear in the film as Bradley Cooper's band.


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
"—" 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.
  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". 3 November 2017. Retrieved 4 November 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. 2017-11-10. Retrieved 2017-11-14.
  11. ^
  12. ^ "'Willie Nelson and the Boys (Willie's Stash, Vol. 2)' Set To Release on October 20". Legacy Recordings. 2017-09-19. Retrieved 2017-11-22.
  13. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (2017-09-22). "Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper's 'A Star Is Born' Moves Up To Next Summer". Deadline. Retrieved 2017-11-22.
  14. ^ "Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real - Chart history (Top Country Albums)". Billboard.
  15. ^ "Lukas Nelson - Chart history (Heatseekers Albums)". Billboard.
  16. ^ "Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real - Chart history (Heatseekers Albums)". Billboard.
  17. ^ "Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real - Chart history (Independent Albums)". Billboard.
  18. ^ "Lukas Nelson - Chart history (Heatseekers Albums)". Billboard.
  19. ^ "Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real - Chart history (Americana/Folk Albums)". Billboard.
  20. ^ Bjorke, Matt (October 30, 2018). "Top 10 Country Albums: October 30, 2018". Roughstock. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  21. ^ "Neil Young - Chart history (Billboard 200)". Billboard.
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  24. ^ "All chart peaks from 2000-present". FIMI.
  25. ^ "Dutch Albums".
  26. ^ "Norwegian Albums".
  27. ^ "Swedish Albums".
  28. ^ "UK Albums".
  29. ^ "Upcoming Releases". Hits Daily Double. HITS Digital Ventures. Archived from the original on June 2, 2016.
  30. ^ "Upcoming Releases". Hits Daily Double. HITS Digital Ventures. Archived from the original on June 2, 2016.

External links[edit]