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NPR Arts & Life

Lukas Nelson, Son Of Willie, Makes His Mark In Music

Lukas Nelson.jpg
Joe del Tufo

Credit Charlotte Arts Journalism Alliance

It’s not unusual for Willie Nelson to share the stage. He has performed with some of the industry’s best voices including Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, even Snoop Dogg.

But now Nelson has been performing with a new voice, one that sounds eerily similar to his own. It’s his son, Lukas Nelson, and he wrote several songs on his dad’s latest album.
Lukas says that he’s learned a lot from his father, who has grown wise with age. 

“He’s grown throughout his life,” Lukas says, “When he was very young he was a struggling musician, and then he became famous and now he’s become wise. So I feel lucky to have this incarnation of him because he’s the most wise and I’ve been able to absorb some of that.”

But Lukas doesn’t just play alongside his famous dad. He’s got his own band, Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real. It’s got more of a rock and roll flavor.

The band is touring with Willie Nelson and Lukas’s sister, Paula. Several of his other siblings have joined for the ride. It’s nothing new to Lukas, who is happy to be on the road again. 

And now Lukas and Promise of the Real can finally afford their own tour bus. They are using Willie’s old bus that runs on biodiesel. 

“I grew up on the bus. Actually this bus that I’m on right now is his old bus, and we’ve had it since 1996 was when we had it. And I grew up on this bus, most of my first memories are on this bus.” 

The whole family is on tour for about two weeks together, and Lucas says that the short tour schedule makes the show all the more significant.

“Sure, it gives the moment more gravity. It is more of a special thing you know? To be with all of your family, it changes the energy for the better."