Personnel: Lukas Nelson (vocals, guitar, pump organ); Corey McCormick (vocals, guitar, electric organ, upright bass, programming); Micah Nelson (vocals, guitar); Anthony LoGerfo (drums); Tato Melgar (percussion).
Audio Mixer: Steve Chadie.
Recording information: Westerfield House.
Illustrator: Gregory J. Del Deo.
Photographer: Jim Eckenrode.
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real return with their muscular third LP, Something Real. Nelson's self-described "cowboy hippie surf rock" band gained some attention in 2015 backing up Neil Young on the collaborative album The Monsanto Years and joining him on tour. Something Real was actually tracked in 2014, prior to the band's association with Young, but its release was put on the backburner until that project had runs its course. The gap also allowed them to nab Young for a guest vocal spot on their cover of John Phillips' '60s classic "San Francisco," which closes out the album. Musically, Something Real generally falls into step with their previous studio effort, 2012's Wasted. Nelson's bluesy guitar riffage often spills out into extended jams and is supported by the burly rhythm section of bassist Corey McCormick, drummer Anthony LoGerfo, and percussionist Tato Melgar. As a band, Promise of the Real are well-suited to their bluesy brand of rock, but the heavier songs sometimes lack distinction, falling into familiar tropes of the genre. They tend to shine brightest on the slower tracks like "Set Me Down on a Cloud" and the beautiful "(Forget About) Georgia," which showcase the nuances of Nelson's fine guitar work, unique vocal presence, and overall songcraft. What sets them apart from other roots-oriented rock bands is the strange melting pot of influences that come into play on any given song, like the proggy synths and light reggae textures on "Ugly Color," another album standout. That knack for variety serves them well and suggests that there just might be something to that "cowboy hippie surf rock" claim. ~ Timothy Monger