Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real – Naked Garden

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Courtesy of American Songwriter – There are times in life when an artist creates something so unique and so special, it’s simply hard to let it go. It’s not unusual of course; sequels are borne from that exact proposition. Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real applied that precise proposition when it came to their new album, Naked Garden, effectively spinning off from the effort that came before, 2019’s Turn Off the News. Looking back, that set of songs had a prescient title, one that now offers apt advice at a time when every day brings more and more worries and reports of increasing casualties from the deadly effects coronavirus

To be sure, Nelson’s intent wasn’t to dwell on those warnings when the band conceived of the new album. Far from it. Promise of the Real was so enthused about the vibe and vitality they found in those earlier sessions that they chose to simply celebrate the results by offering outtakes, early versions and various tracks written during those same sessions. It is a sequel of sorts, a companion piece that provides added insights into the group’s creative process, even to the extent of including studio chatter and impromptu dialogue that allows the listener to be a veritable fly on the wall while listening in to the proceedings.

“We’re not necessarily revisiting anything,” Nelson explained, speaking by phone from his home in central Texas where he’s been ensconced since the pandemic forced the group to cancel a planned worldwide tour. “We recorded everything at once and put it out in parts. These songs all came from the same sessions. We went into a big production mode with that last one, but for this, we decided to keep it as sparse and raw as we could. Hence the title, Naked Garden. It was kind of inspired by the later take on the Let It Be album, Let It Be Naked. It’s a Basement Tapes kind of thing. That was kind of the intent.”