Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real – Naked Garden [Album Review]

To offer a little intro, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real are bassist Corey McCormick, drummer Anthony LoGerfo, percussionist Tato Melgar, multi-instrumentalist Logan Metz and guitarist/vocalist Lukas Nelson. New album Naked Garden is somewhat of a companion to 2019’s Turn Off The News (Build A Garden) but this record isn’t just here for the sake of it, these are beautifully crafted songs longing for a life of their own. Produced by Promise of the Real and John Alagia, the band offer you a total of 15 tracks, 10 of which are brand-new, previously unreleased tracks and 5 new versions of songs that originally appeared on the aforementioned 2019 release, and you know everything here has all the right intentions.

Naked Garden is the sound of a band fully immersed in the moment, this natural-sounding collection drifts through the ether with a wonderfully relaxed, and yet progressively impulsive, heart and soul. Opening track, and fan favourite, Entirely Different Stars talks of getting lost into the galaxy, taking the one you want to head off and explore beyond the beyond, moving from mellow to an foot-tapping bass story of wanting a better life, well, maybe for everyone and particularly those who appreciate the truth of what we have right in front of us. It’s quite the journey as well, a 7-minute opener drifts off into experimentation, and as we’re floating off with Pink Floyd‘s divine guidance, you can almost see those other stars flickering in their in the deep, distant darkness.

You might have already heard the pre-album-released Civilised Hell (Alternate Version) already, which passes by admirably with a sure-to-encouraged old-fashioned guitar solo concluding the track (it’s made for a live show-off), and also the previously shared alongside Couldn’t Break Your Heart, which brings out the big guitars and continues the love-in.

There’s the fun, sardonically optimistic tale of Back When I Cared, which may well relate to an old relationship that’s past and gone but also has a vibe that relates to all the overreaction we see in the continual negative news. It’s a wonderful fight back to that kind of feeling and with the line ”I’m a happy man now than back when I cared” – you relate in whichever way hits home to you.

Moving on down through the track list, you can feel the sweet-cradling-caress of Movie in my Mind, which sways melodic motifs across the summer-to-be-breeze that, I’m sure, so many of us cannot wait to see return – the hopeful images of now and the positive future, all filtering through. There’s a world we know we really love, no matter how far away it might be at the moment. Focus on the Music gave me a Bowie/Lennon edge in its moulding, and this is (of course) a very good thing plus a little sprinkle of Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy’s The Sounds Are Always Begging before it dives into that space-like Life on Mars Bowie-era, a true amalgamation of music.

Exploring the Naked Garden further, we funk it up with a mix of live studio chat “It’s like we’re playing live guys” opener to My Own Wave, and that’s a good summary of the album, pulling through that ‘you’re there’ vibe, which is what’s been picked up in this record. Interestingly, many of the creative sessions for the album took form at the legendary Rick Rubin‘s place Shangri-La in Malibu and as Lukas sings ‘I feel so free’, your consciousness feels it as the congas/bongos fill the space in-between.

Other stand-out tracks include Out in L.A., with classic grooves, telling the story of a girl once loved, living their different lives now but it’s another upbeat tale; Speak the Truth (Alternate Mix) also stands out and then it’s the country waltz on closing track The Way You Say Goodbye, celebrating that falsetto from Lukas that rounds off over an hour of heartfelt music to drift away with, so turn off the news and let these folks take you somewhere quite wonderful.

Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real’s Naked Garden is out now, order here

To celebrate the release, the band will be hosting a live listening party of the album on their YouTube channel at 7pm GMT – see link HERE to get involved!


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