Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real - A Few Stars Apart
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A Few Stars Apart (Fantasy, 2021)

Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

With songs written during lockdown and recorded during the worldwide pandemic, much of Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real's "A Few Stars Apart" deals with human connections and survival. The vocal resemblance of frontman Nelson to his father, Willie, is inescapable on many tracks, particularly with the opening "We'll Be Alright," which projects optimism in troubled times ("And we can hold on/Through struggle and strife/Despite all the darkness/We'll be alright").And we can hold on

Similarly, the uptempo "More Than We Can Handle" lauds perseverance ("We'll be okay/We'll find a way to survive") in the wake of disaster. The mournful ballad "Hand Me a Light" (co-written with Rina Ford who adds harmony vocals) recalls the senior Nelson's 1967 composition "Suffer in Silence" as it assigns the blame for problems ("You won't allow yourself/Love in your life").

With the Neil Young flavored country rocker "Leave 'em Behind," Nelson urges a friend to abandon an abusive relationship ("Beautiful face, I see your eye/Black and blue don't make good colors on you"), while the bittersweet ballad "Giving You Away" finds an anxious parent coming to terms with the imminent departure of a child ("Well you've grown so much/And now it's time to fly"), but with hope for the future ("And if he treats you right/And I know he will/There ain't nothing in the whole wide world/That you can't do").

Nelson takes to the piano on the title track in which he proclaims that distance cannot diminish a strong connection ("Travelling at the speed of love/Faster than light and you're on your way home/We're just a few stars apart and you're not alone"), while "Perennial Bloom (Back to You)" makes an indirect reference to life in the covid era ("Someone beside me actually smiled/Without a mask").

Produced by Dave Cobb (Chris Stapleton, Shooter Jennings, Jason Isbell) and recorded at historic RCA Studio A in Nashville, "A Few Stars Apart" finds singer/songwriter Lukas Nelson nicely complementing the family legacy.

CDs by Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real

Sticks and Stones, 2023 A Few Stars Apart, 2021

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