Lukas Nelson knows all about legacies, indeed he’s been hard at work carving his own for most of his young but extremely eventful life. Balancing his work as the front man of Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real — an emergent and vital force in American music — with his regular gig as Neil Young’s band leader and lead guitarist — and of course, the never-ending road alongside his father in Willie Nelson & Family — in song after song, on stage after stage, Lukas has sharpened the edges of his singular sound, one that nods to his influences while also pushing forward into uncharted territory.
Lukas began listening to his heart in his childhood hometown of Maui. He was a creative kid, writing his first song at 11 years old and sharpening his guitar chops with eight to 10 hours of daily practice. He headed to the mainland in 2007 to attend college in Los Angeles but found it difficult to shake his musical dreams. After meeting drummer Anthony LoGerfo at a Neil Young concert in 2008, he dropped out of school and formed Promise of the Real, taking the band’s name from a line in Young’s 1973 song “Walk On.” By the time Young caught the band during a fiery set at Farm Aid in 2014, they were a proficient, well-oiled machine, playing with a skill and swagger well beyond their years. He asked them to join him in the recording studio, and the result — 2015’s The Monsanto Years — became the start of an ongoing collaboration that has included two additional albums, multiple tours, and countless hours of inspired performances onstage.
Lukas has also found much success writing and producing for film, collaborating with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper on 2018’s blockbuster film and soundtrack, A Star is Born. Lukas not only co-wrote and co-produced much of the film’s multi-platinum, Oscar-winning soundtrack, he also worked closely with Cooper in crafting Jackson Maine’s musical persona. In a classic case of art imitating life, Nelson, along with his real-life cohorts in Promise of the Real appear in the movie too, performing as Cooper’s (Jackson Maine’s) backing band just as they’ve performed with Young for years. Lukas, Gaga, and Cooper recently won the BAFTA Award for Film Music, just one of the many accolades bestowed on the acclaimed project since its release.