Lukas Nelson & Promise Of The Real “Just Outside Of Austin” (2017)

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The Nelson family (Generation II, Part I)

Sure, he’s got it in his genes. But Lukas Nelson, Willie’s 29-year-old son, has also got it in his jeans: Sex appeal and star power, to go along with unbridled talent.* It’s blasphemous to suggest, perhaps, but maybe even more so than his dad. This guy should be big. He croons in a way reminiscent of his father, and like Willie he writes terse, touching songs painting subtly exquisite scenes. He also appears to enjoy himself some herb, just like his old man. But where he differs is the fact that he can also sling a serious electric guitar (Note: you won’t hear it in today’s selection, but check back for the next one). I’ve seen Lukas and his band, Promise Of The Real, in concert three times: In NYC’s Beacon Theater, in Brooklyn’s Music Hall Of Williamsburg, and at the Paradiso Nord in Amsterdam, Netherlands, a cool little club where I took my daughter Mary to a show during her 2017 abroad semester there. We loved his playing, we loved his presence, and it shouldn’t be forgotten, she really loved his hair.

Midway through the wide-ranging show, the band left the stage for a short, solo acoustic set by Lukas, and he played the song, ‘Just Outside Of Austin’, from their self-titled 2017 album. The packed room which moments earlier had been aroar and rowdy became rapt, dead silent and riveted to this simple yet achingly beautiful ballad. It was one of those indelible music moments you’ll never forget, the reason why you go to hear live shows. Months later, the topic of the song came up, and Mary and I both re-listened to it, in separate places many thousands of miles apart, then texted our respective reactions, both surprisingly saying the exact same thing: The song and the memory were in fact so beautiful it made us cry.

*I know, that’s really stupid; I was desperate to try to use that ‘genes/jeans’ thing


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