Some opportunities, you don’t pass up. Like stepping in as the backing band for folk-rock icon Neil Young.
“We all love Neil so much, we would do anything for him,” says Lukas Nelson, who plays guitar and sings with his brother Micah Nelson in the gritty rock band Promise of the Real. The band stops Saturday, May 2, at Fulton 55.
For Young, the band rescheduled a set of concert dates and put its next record (which Nelson describes as straight ahead rock and roll) on the back burner. The band recorded 14 songs for the album, but Nelson isn’t sure when it will be released.
“This Neil stuff has taken precedence,” he says.
That “stuff” is an album called “The Monsanto Years,” which the band recorded with Young over six weeks in January. It is scheduled for release June 16 and will be accompanied by a documentary film about the making of the album, according to the online music site Pitchfork.
Young debuted material from the album at a surprise concert in San Luis Obispo last week, with the Nelsons and the band playing backup. He also announced the band will join him on the accompanying “Rebel Content” tour, which kicks off July 5 at Summerfest in Milwaukee.
Until then, the band continues with its own tour dates.
This wasn’t the Nelson brothers first time sharing the stage with Young. They first caught Young’s attention while playing the Farm Aid and The Bridge School benefit concerts. They are the sons of country icon (and Farm Aid founder) Willie Nelson.
They crossed paths again in September, when Promise of the Real joined Young during his set at Harvest the Hope, a benefit concert and protest against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.
Young has been a part on the group, in spirit at least, for much longer. Nelson met the band’s drummer Anthony Logerfo at a Neil Young concert. The band’s name is taken from lyrics from Young’s song “Walk On.” His influence is almost part of the band’s DNA, Nelson says.
While “The Monsanto Years” is every bit Young’s vision, the songs could belong to Promise of the Real, he says.
“It feels like we’re playing our own music.”