A Short Q+A with Lukas Nelson Before His Show on November 22!
Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real rocks The Cap the night before Thanksgiving, Wednesday, November 22! To get excited, we spoke with Lukas to hear his thoughts on his music and the upcoming show! Tickets are available here.
Cap: This will be your second time playing The Capitol Theatre as the headlining act. But Promise Of The Real was Neil Young's backing band here in 2018. What are the biggest differences between being in a band versus playing your own music?
Lukas Nelson: Always when you're playing your own music there's an added freedom, and then there's a pressure that goes with it. It's great to learn from a mentor but I feel way more free when it's my own. I write a lot of songs, and there's a lot of songs I want to get out and let people hear. This show is completely unique to me, it's my acoustic songs, my honky tonk songs, my piano songs and all of the above and more.
Cap: Your sound combines a ton of different elements of rock, country, rockabilly, and even folk. How would you describe it yourself, and how do you think that's changed over 6 albums?
Lukas Nelson: The songs change the sound. I'll write a song on an acoustic guitar, but we'll produce it in the way the song needs and is crying out for. The one constant is my voice, and the soul I'm putting into it. It all follows the song, and the song is the most important... The song, the lyrics, the melody, that's the most important. I try to inject a little soul into the country music I play. That mixed with the rock and roll becomes who I am. Country Soul maybe you could call it.
Cap: You hold a unique place in rock history, with your family history. Now that you're playing a lot of the legendary venues like The Cap, how do you bring your own modern take on playing, while also paying homage to rock history?
Lukas Nelson: I'm influenced heavily by soul music, r&b, by Aretha Franklin, Al Green, Ray Charles as much as I'm influenced by my Dad, Merle, and Hank Williams. So the combination of that mixed with a rock 'n' roll influence just becomes who I am, and it's hard to say what it is.
Cap: You described your latest album, Sticks and Stones, as the "perfect setlist." Were you actively thinking about writing with a live show in mind, and how has it been playing them to crowds?
Lukas Nelson: Absolutely, this record has been a complete success in creating moments for the live show which is what I wanted to do. When I was going out on the road in 2021 I had just completed a record called A Few Stars Apart which was a very introspective album that I wrote in the pandemic. But after the pandemic everyone was tired of being introspective, they wanted to get up and dance... I could sense the restlessness.
I always envision a song - when I'm writing it, I imagine playing it live, even the slower ones, I imagine the moments it's going to create. What I didn't realize when I was writing A Few Star Apart, I think was the anticipation of how people would feel once the pandemic ended, as opposed to how they felt during it, that's something I'll look for. All these things affect what's going and how people are going to react when you play live.
Cap: Aside from new songs, and a great time, what can fans expect from Wednesday night's show at The Cap?
Lukas Nelson: Well if you haven't heard the new music, that's going to be new. We've got a really well-curated set that has ups and downs, and I think it builds in a really nice way that culminates. Everyone seems to dig it and these shows have been like going to church. I'm excited to go back to The Cap, it's a great room, it's a great feeling there, and to send people off to their families for Thanksgiving!
See you tonight at the show!