Crawling out of a global pandemic, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real instill hope for a reconnected future after uncovering what it means to come home again with their eighth studio album, Few Stars Apart, due out June 11 via Fantasy Records. On April 28, the band—based in Texas and Hawaii — fills the distance between lonely hearts with a buoyant new track, “Perennial Bloom (Back To You).” The song evokes persistence amidst the troubling times, encouraging repeatedly throughout, Summer’s healing coming soon.
After a long year away from friends and family, A Few Stars Apart is a testament to the necessity of human connection. The sentiment was bred in the stillness of last spring while Nelson was riding out an uncertain storm with his family in Texas. The artist was born into Outlaw royalty as the son of Willie Nelson, and what he describes as the “ultimate road family.”
“I’ve never been anywhere longer than three months, and suddenly here we are, the four of us together,” says Nelson, who bunked up outside of Austin with his father, his mother Annie, and brother Micah. “And thank God we were together. I can’t remember the last time we had that much time together as a family. We had a lot of really important bonding that happened during that time. And I have to say, as terrible as the pandemic has been in so many ways, for my inner peace, I was able to take a lot of good from this time. I was able to pause and reflect.”
Produced by Grammy Award-winning producer Dave Cobb, the albums was recorded with the full band live on eight-track tape over three weeks at Nashville’s historic RCA Studio A.
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real debuted over a decade ago. Since then, they’ve defined themselves as a relentless road band, occasionally backing Neil Young on stage. In the years since their start, Nelson also won a BAFTA Award for Best Original Music and a GRAMMY Award for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media for his work co-producing music for A Star Is Born (2018). Their forthcoming album project follows Naked Garden, released in 2020.
While Nelson leads with vocals, guitar, and intermittent piano, his band—Anthony LoGerfo (drums, percussion, tambourine), Corey McCormick (bass guitar, upright bass, Mellotron, vocals), Tato Melgar (percussion), and Logan Metz (piano, Wurlitzer, B3 organ, lap steel, banjo, Mellotron, vocals —wielded 11 songs to evoke the refuge of coming home. Their tracking mourns a lost year, without losing sight of the encroaching light at the end of a seemingly eternal tunnel. Their hope, as we move forward and begin to heal, is that the fruits of this period of self-discovery not be lost in our return.
“It took me a really long time to come back to the home in my heart. In a physical sense, that’s Texas and Hawaii,” says the artist. “But in a spiritual sense as well—I think I finally decided not to run from who I am and who I am destined to be. First and foremost, that’s a songwriter. That’s what this record means to me. There’s a story being told through the whole record. A story about connection and coming home.”
Photo by Alysse Gafkjen