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Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real Play a Bone Rattling Record Release Party for "Sticks and Stones" at the Nashville Palace

by Rich and Laura Lynch

The Nashville Palace is a legendary honky-tonk situated in the tourist zone known as Music Valley. The 800-person capacity venue also sits right next to the Willie Nelson and Friends Museum. On Thursday, July 13, 2023 Willie's son Lukas Nelson continued making some notable history of his own when he and his band Promise of the Real launched their latest full-length record Sticks and Stones with a release party in front of a mostly standing SRO crowd with a long, incendiary set of music on a particularly hot night.


Lukas Nelson in Nashville and his new album.

At 8:10 p.m. Lukas + POTR took the stage and opened with a double shot of songs from the new record. The title track revealed the performer to be in fine form and clearly confident with the material on his eighth full-length album. Next up was "Every Time I Drink" that set the perfect tone for the barn-burning night of music that was to come.

As the saying goes - "sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me". But, Lukas really has nothing to worry about as the words and terms used by national media to describe his latest offering include - "pure joy", "a gem", "fresh and welcome", "virtuoso-style musicianship", "enormously upbeat" and "very well-rooted".

To those outstanding accolades and upon seeing him play this much anticipated gig we will add our own by saying Lukas is "a convincing and charismatic generational artist" - and why wouldn't he be? After serving many years in his father's Family Band, doing a long-term apprenticeship with classic rock legend Neil Young and a shorter stint with John Fogerty - Nelson is a honed and fine-tuned presence who has clearly learned his lessons well.


A look inside the steamy honky-tonk on a historic Thursday night in the Music Valley.

Consider what happened near mid-set when Lukas + POTR were doing their best-known song "Find Yourself". While conducting a chorus sing-along that highlighted the men and women in the audience in a vocal challenge to see who could be loudest - a woman near the stage fainted in clear view of Nelson. While the band played on - Lukas professionally directed security to come help the fallen fan - while bringing the music to slower tempo and adding some falsetto accompaniment while the situation resolved itself.

Speaking of Nelson's singing he often has a delivery that will remind you of something Willie might do. By being younger his voice is overall clearly stronger with a more powerful rock presence within his quality vocal chords. Lukas is a captivating band leader and sometimes the direction of the output bordered on an R&B style that is being popularized by the likes of a Wilder Woods these days. But, more often than not country rock with a Texas swing and swagger was the order of the day.


People lined up as early as 2 in the afternoon for this much anticipated showcase.

With Sticks and Stones Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real are clearly on the map and going places. Two of our favorite numbers of the night included the state-themed "(Forget About) Georgia" and "Carolina" that were highlights of a generous 23-song concert that often showcased the individual players in the band. Nelson's ample multi-instrumental skills found him shining on piano and lead guitar in addition to his frontman duties at the Nashville Palace where fans received a preview of seven of twelve tracks from the new album.

From Nashville Lukas + POTR are set to take their show on the road with two big dates opening for Tedeschi Trucks Band on September 27 at the TD Garden in Boston before closing out the leg on September 29 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Lukas has also been added to the bill for Farm Aid 2023 on September 23 at Ruoff Music Center in Noblesville, Indiana. All this proves that Lukas has planted good seeds and he is now reaping what he has sown - and the fans get another crop of great music courtesy of this rising star.

SETLIST: Sticks and Stones | Every Time I Drink | Fool Me Once | More Than Friends | Four Letter Word | Piano Explosion of Goodness | Just Outside of Austin | Overpass | (Forget About) Georgia | Icarus | Ladder of Love | Carolina | Die Alone | Find Yourself | Lying | The View | More Than We Can Handle | Smile | Wrong House | Alcohallelujah | Set Me Down on a Cloud | Encore | Drum Fantasy Dance | Something Real


The legendary Nashville Palace is always a fun place to see musical royalty in action.

Related Links: For more information on LUKAS NELSON + POTR and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Lukas Nelson + POTR | Nashville Palace

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