Exclusive: Lukas Nelson plays new song “Turn Off the News”

Photo by: Myriam Santos, via Shore Fire Media


Lukas Nelson & The Promise of the Real, living up to their name, is a band that has been carrying country-rock into modern times. Lead by Lukas Nelson, son of Willie Nelson, the band has recently toured with Neil Young and put out their sophomore LP with him, The Visitor.

Lukas Nelson stopped by the studio to talk dreams of doing radio, playing soccer, smoking weed, and using music as an escape from feelings of loneliness.

“Music took me over,” Nelson tells No Name. “I was a songwriter from when I was 11 or 12. I started getting attention for that. I’ll do this because this seems to be naturally happening and I have connections in the industry.”

Even without a foot in the door, Nelson would have carved out a place in rock for himself eventually. Upon its debut, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real’s self-titled album hit #1 on Americana Radio. But he stays modest. “It means I sold two records,” he says with a laugh.

Nelson tries out his new song “Turn Off the News,” pleasantly relatable and not suitable for radio, on-air. He also plays “Fade to Black.” “It’s about going to sleep,” he says.

Nelson says he identified with being a loner in high school, or at least feeling like an outcast, having grown up with a different perspective than his peers.

“Since music has been in my life, I’ve been able to take all the crap that happens in my life and channel it through the art and spit it back out so it doesn’t linger inside. Everybody goes through crap and everyone is going to feel sad, but I don’t suffer for a long time because I can take it and spit it out and try to get something from it.”

He’s come a long way from that high school angst. These days, he’s collaborating with the likes of Lady Gaga, after Bradley Cooper, of all people, approached him during Desert Trip music festival asking for advice on how to play a musician for his upcoming role in A Star is Born. With Gaga playing the other lead, Lukas also ended up writing music with her for the film. Between that, touring on his own, and joining Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats on tour this summer, we’d say – like a true artist – he’s done pretty well with the emotional material given from that life experience. That, plus plain born-with talent.

Lukas wraps the on-air takeover with a cover of one of his (and his mom’s) favorite songs from his dad, “I Never Cared For You.” Listen above – it’ll become your favorite, too.

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