Album Review

Lukas Nelson and POTR - Sticks and Stones

Authentically Americana, Lukas Nelson and POTR are clearly having tremendous fun on this record, pushing the boundaries while carving out their own niche – something we’re certainly here for.

Lukas Nelson and POTR - Sticks and Stones Album Cover
July 10, 2023 10:09 am GMT

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Lukas Nelson and POTR - Sticks and Stones

Label: 6 Ace Records / Thirty Tigers

Release Date: July 14, 2023

Producers: Lukas Nelson and POTR

Tracklisting:

1. Solid Gold
2. Don’t Give Away Love
3. Passed Midnight
4. A Feeling Called Lonesome
5. In A Daze
6. My Sanity
7. Highway Shoes
8. Where Daniel Stood
9. Even If
10. Seeing Clear
11. Always November
12. I Wish

Eight albums and over a decade into his solo career, Lukas Nelson has made an enormously upbeat, playful and frankly joyous record that his dear old dad, Willie, would be proud of.

Produced with his longtime band, POTR, Sticks and Stones has been crafted to give his fans something they can play right through – or shuffle in jukebox style. They can dance, sing or any old thing to a dozen songs that go in different directions and dip into diverse genres – all while having fun doing so.

The eye-catching single that’s got everyone talking is Lukas Nelson’s flirtatious, fun duet with fast-rising star Lainey Wilson, ‘More Than Friends’. This track finally allowed the mutually appreciative duo to swap lines, on a tale of procrastination, avoiding the truth about their relationship and pretending they’re more than friends. Their voices soar together – as Wilson puts it – in their fresh take on the spirit of iconic duos like Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers.

The album’s highlight is comfortably ‘All Four Winds’, a lovely arrangement that features the enveloping warmth of the entire band. The addition of Spanish guitar, lap steel and harmonica ensure you’re taken on a romantic, country journey with Nelson as he leaves town. Just glorious.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Nelson album if it didn’t mention intoxication, with ‘Alcohallelujah’ offering a gospel choir at the forefront, as Nelson’s vocals flirt with Dylan edginess before plunging downwards. Instead of asking can I get a witness or an amen, he’s demanding a drink, the word play continuing as he asks this ‘spirit’ to lift him high. On ‘Every Time I Drink’, he reminisces about an old love whenever he indulges, underpinned by jaunty barroom piano in the verses, contrasting with hungover memories in the chorus, as he changes gears and mood throughout.

Showing his range, ‘Ladder of Love’ is ridiculously rapid -like a steam train gathering speed in three-steps-to-heaven style - as Nelson counts the rungs of the ladder one by one to mark the progress of his passion. ‘Sticks and Stones’, meanwhile, is funky, swampy and reminiscent of Little Feat, ‘Icarus’ flirts with Western Swing, ‘Wrong House’ is rock ‘n’ roll country and ‘Overpass’ nudges towards a Tex-Mex sound to create instant atmosphere.

Authentically Americana, Lukas Nelson and POTR are clearly having tremendous fun on this record, pushing the boundaries while carving out their own niche – something we’re certainly here for.

8/10

Lukas Nelson and POTR's 2023 album, Sticks and Stones, is released July 14th via 6 Ace Records / Thirty Tigers.

For more Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real, see below:

Written by Helen Jerome
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