Fuzzy memories of Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real

Lukas Nelson at the 2013 High Sierra Music Festival. Photos by Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Lukas Nelson at the 2013 High Sierra Music Festival. Photos by Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

I’m going to get you this time, Lukas Nelson.

I blew it the first time I photographed a concert by Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real. Nelson and bass player Cory McCormick leaped in unison, elevating and soaring over the Grand Meadow stage at High Sierra as if they were LaBron James and Michael Jordan with guitars. But my lens was too long, I was too slow and the photo, as you can see, is way out of focus.fuzzy luke 1fuzzy luke 2

Sure, I also had several good images of Nelson, who plays barefooted and is apt to shake his long hair all about and to play his instrument with his teeth like his hero Jimi Hendrix. But I missed THE shot. The decisive moment Jay Blakesberg captures so many times.

A shot at redemption comes Saturday, Dec. 27 when Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real play on the South Shore Room stage, the same one Lukas’s father once made a tardy appearance.

Harrah’s Lake Tahoe’s former stage manager told me the story about losing Willie Nelson. The show was set to start, but Willie was not there. The desperate stage manager finally searched the casino floor where he located Nelson wandering around with his guitar.

Lukas 1“Mr. Nelson, you are wanted at the South Shore Room,” the story goes.

“Oh, hi. Yes,” Nelson replied. “Can you please tell me where it is?”

Being the son of a successful musician led to a unique childhood. Lukas Nelson was just five weeks old when he experienced his first bus tour, traveling with the Highwaymen, which was comprised of his father, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Johnny Cash. Lukas grew up in Hawaii, and he told me this when we spoke on the phone in 2012: “I went to a school called Seabury Hall and the (Jimi Hendrix) movie ‘Rainbow Bridge’ was filmed there. He hung out in the attic and smoked a joint. He did the ‘Rainbow Bridge’ show not too far from that school, so there’s still an energy from there.”

After that, Willie Nelson promised to pay his son’s college tuition, and Lukas enrolled at Loyola Marymount University. However, he quickly decided he’d rather try to become a rock star. Willie Nelson allowed his son to drop out, but he told him from that point he would be on his own. However, he did give Lukas the keys to his tour bus, which became infamous after it was stopped by Texas lawmen who had no compunction about arresting a famous and most amiable senior citizen for smoking weed.

Lukas Nelson, like his dad, is a good songwriter. His music is rock with a country edge. He played at the Crystal Bay Casino in 2011 and 2012. Saturday will mark his South Shore debut, and it will be just two days after his 26th birthday. He was born on Christmas 1988.

Here’s a link to Nelson and his band’s appearance on the David Letterman show: VIDEO


Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 27
Where: Harrah’s Lake Tahoe South Shore Room
Tickets: $36.30

About Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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