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Lukas Nelson only gets better

The Bellwether, Los Angeles, March 6, 2024

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

Just when you think you can't love Lukas Nelson more, he puts on a stellar show that leaves you even more impressed with his skills.

Nelson, with his Promise of the Real band, opened with the resilient "Sticks and Stones," even though it's tough to think of a reason why anyone would want to hurt this talented man. Whether he's singing a drinking song ("Every Time I Drink"), a sad song about a friend that's passed on ("A Few Stars Apart" on piano, no less") or even revealing a good sense of humor, as he did with "Wrong House," Nelson just has so much good stuff to offer.

And let's not forget about the wisely chosen cover songs in his set. While at the piano, Nelson also performed David Bowie's "Life on Mars?" and within an acoustic guitar-only portion, Nelson harmonized with opener, Lily Meola, on Paul Simon's "Homeward Bound." Next, he covered his father's ballad, "Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground," filling it with Willie-esque acoustic guitar fills.

One of this night's big surprises was the singing of "Shallow," made famous by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, with Hunter Elizabeth taking the Gaga part. She's a powerhouse vocalist, too. Another thrill was when Nelson and band performed a rave-up version of his dad's "Bloody Mary Morning." It just doesn't get better than this with Lukas Nelson. Then again, we've said this before, only to be proven wrong.

Meola opened the show with a short set of heartfelt songs, highlighted by a spirited cover of Dolly Parton's "Jolene." Her utter sincerity soundly sold her performance.

If Lukas Nelson wasn't the son of an icon, would he be more respected than he is now? This is worth considering because it's difficult to see why he's not as beloved as, say, the Zach Bryans and Jason Isbells of the Americana world. If you don't believe this, just give him the chance to surpass your expectations each and every time you see him live.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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