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Lukas Nelson to step out of father Willie Nelson’s shadow and into Columbus

Courtesy of Tony Pizza

Growing up on the road, Lukas Nelson experienced a lot of things most people won’t experience in one lifetime. However, most people didn’t have a father like Willie Nelson.

Lukas Nelson toured with his father when the elder Nelson was in the country super group, The Highwaymen, with Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Jennings. He even took his first steps on his father’s tour bus, The Honeysuckle Rose.

Now, it’s Lukas Nelson’s turn to step out on tour. He and his band, Promise of the Real, will be performing at the Lincoln Theatre Wednesday at 8 p.m.

To Lukas Nelson, his family is always something he will appreciate while on the road.

“I think it’s important to surround yourself with your family, no matter who your family is,” he said. “Just surround yourself with people who … will bring you back down to earth. I really appreciate having those people around, and I will forever.”

Sharing blood isn’t what defines a family, Lukas Nelson said. To him, family means the people who stick by a person’s side through thick and thin, which includes his band mates.

Drummer Anthony LoGerfo said the band tries to take its definition of family and insert it into its music.

“We’re a family out here as a band, so we’re just trying to put love into the music,” LoGerfo said.

LoGerfo said having a close family bond doesn’t mean each family member has to be the same.

“I think that’s part of having a good family, too: realizing that each member in it can be different, they don’t all have to be the same,” he said.

Enter Lukas Nelson.

As the sixth child of the braided country man, Lukas Nelson isn’t influenced by his father in the writing process. He just influences himself.

“I’m definitely inspired by him,” but not influenced, he said.

The reason Lukas Nelson started playing music isn’t because he wants to be touted as Willie Nelson’s son, it’s because he just wants to play music, he said.

“I just want to play good music that people will want to play at a party,” he said. “That’s what music is, it’s what brings people together.”

The 22-year-old singer-songwriter wrote his first song, “You Were It,” at 11 years old, a time when he wasn’t too worldly.

“When I was 11, I hadn’t really been through much, but I already had a sense of how songs were structured and I had a sense of melody in my head,” he said. “Maybe that’s ‘cause I grew up around it.”

Lukas Nelson not only grew up with music in his life, but his life grew around music.

“As time went by, I was able to more accurately portray (in my music) the feelings I was going through as a teenager and again as an adult,” he said.

Now as an adult, Lukas Nelson is setting out to leave his own mark in music’s history books, and some Ohio State students approve of his style.

Jackie McBride, a third-year in political science, would describe himself as a moderate fan of the Nelson family’s music, but thinks their flavor of music is like none other in the industry today.

“They have their own kind of style. You have different types of country, but they’re pretty unique, I think,” McBride said.

While McBride appreciates the fact that Lukas Nelson is the son of a country legend, he thinks that Lukas Nelson will be successful in making the Nelson name his own.

“You don’t want to be the same as your dad, but you want to have similar characteristics and at the same time; be your own person,” McBride said. “You’ll never be able to fit into those same shoes, but you can try to get a different style of shoe and it can be your own.”

In trying to stay with their own genre of music, the band hopes to release its second full-length record in early 2012.

In the meantime, LoGerfo said one of the most important lessons the band has learned thus far in its career is one taught to them by the man who’s been through it all: Willie Nelson.

“I asked Willie and everybody in (his) band, ‘What kind of advice could you give?'” he said. “They all said, ‘Have fun. If you’re not having fun, you shouldn’t be doing this.'”

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