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Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real - Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real (Decca)
With all the necessary country sensibilities you would expect from the son of legendary songwriter Willie Nelson, together with the influence of his mother's record collection (Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan), this young surfing cowboy fits the bill for introducing his own brand of rock-inflected country to the world with a band of friends, whose collective name derives from a lyric in the old Neil Young song Walk On. Curiously enough, the band went on to back Young on some extensive touring, which also led to helping out on the Canadian rocker's last two studio albums.
Opening with the soul-fuelled Set Me Down on a Cloud, we find something more than your usual country rock, something rather more captivating. The band are pretty much on form, tight and together, with some keen guitar licks towards the end of its seven minute spree. Willie himself appears on the lilting Just Outside of Austin, with one or two trademark licks, whilst his octogenarian Aunt Bobbi plays piano, keeping it all pretty much in the family. One of the real surprises on this, the band's eponymous album release, is Nelson's vocal sparring with Stefani Germanotta (Lady Gaga to you), who between them create the sort of vibe once entirely the domain of Delaney and Bonnie, with the magical waters of Muscle Shoals almost audible in the background. The swampy vibe on Carolina has Dr John's voodoo stamped all over it, albeit with a mischievous nod towards Roger Miller's Dang Me tagged onto the end. Lukas Nelson's band did promise us something real and this just might be it.