Straddling rock and roll, country, soul, folk and R&B, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real reach a new high-water mark on Turn Off The News (Build A Garden), their second full-length album for Fantasy Records. This is Lukas Nelson at his best: as a songwriter, a singer, a guitarist and band leader – an artist at the peak of his powers, backed by Promise of the Real, his nimble and dexterous brothers-in-arms, one of the most talented, in-demand rock and roll ensembles working today.
Recorded at Shangri-La in Malibu and the Village Studios in West L.A., Turn Off The News (Build A Garden) was co-produced by Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real and John Alagia, who helmed the group’s previous effort in 2017. The band: bassist Corey McCormick, drummer Anthony Logerfo, percussionist Tato Melgar, multi-instrumentalist Logan Metz and Lukas Nelson, worked fast recording 30 original songs during brief breaks between tours. They tracked straight to analog tape, keeping overdubs to a minimum while focusing on the live performances. Vocal and instrumental contributions from friends and family include Margo Price, Sheryl Crow, Willie Nelson, Micah Nelson, Kesha, Shooter Jennings, Randy Houser, Lucius, Madison Ryann Ward, Hunter Elizabeth and Neil Young.
“We wanted these songs to be fun and upbeat,” says Nelson, “but we also wanted to have something to say. Rock & roll began as a countercultural movement, so in the true spirit of rock & roll, we’re trying to encourage a lifestyle where people can be active in their local communities, rather than glued to a device. We listen to so many artists — the Byrds, Tom Petty, Al Green, Neil Young, Little Feat, J.J. Cale — and this album carries forth something they all represented, the idea of turning off the news and doing something constructive. It’s a statement about how you can live your life with your heart leading the way.”
Whether it’s the sweeping, Roy Orbison-influenced production of “Where Does Love Go,” nodding to the Traveling Wilburys on the irresistible “Bad Case,” the cosmic country vibes of “Stars Made of You,” the 60’s infused sweet R&B of “Save A Little Heartache,” or the unmistakable Willie Nelson guitar licks that grace the poignant “Mystery,” it all comes together in the most mature and absorbing work of the band’s burgeoning career.
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real have seen their profile rise dramatically in the two years since the release of their self-titled Fantasy debut. The band has headlined shows and festivals all over world and made a number of prestigious television appearances, all while continuing to blow minds as Neil Young’s go-to musical ensemble both on the road and in the studio. Additionally, Turn Off The News (Build A Garden) arrives on the heels of the group’s high-profile collaboration with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper on 2018’s blockbuster film and soundtrack, A Star Is Born. Lukas not only co-wrote and co-produced much of the film’s multi-platinum, Oscar-winning soundtrack, he also worked closely with Cooper in crafting the lead character’s (Jackson Maine) musical persona. And in a classic case of art imitating life, Nelson and Promise of the Real appear in the movie too, performing as Maine’s backing band just as they’ve performed with Neil Young for years. Just recently, Lukas, Gaga and Cooper won the BAFTA Award for Film Music, one of the many accolades bestowed on the acclaimed project since its release.