Country music star Lukas Nelson revisits rock bottom before finding peace on very personal rip-roaring new album | The Sun

AWARD-WINNING musician Lukas Nelson has poured his heart and soul into his rollicking new record Sticks and Stones.

The guitar-slinging troubadour, 34, has packed each of its 12 tracks with biographical references and hasn't shied away from revisiting some of his toughest moments.

Opening up about his eighth album with band Promise of The Real from his home in Hawaii, Lukas says the record will take listeners on a journey from his raucous heavy drinking days that left him broken to the more peaceful life he now lives on the island.

He says: "I went sober for a long time, not like completely sober, but just stopped my excessive drinking and I'm still in that place.

"The record, it's very biographical, it goes from my party days and then, as you see, the content of the music changes over the course of the record.

"At first it's very defiant, Sticks and Stones then Every Time I Drink and Alcohallelujah – which is a very cautionary tale, by the way, it's all about a guy whose life's falling apart. And then as times goes by I go 'I've got to settle down'.

"There's one song called Overpass, which is about basically rock bottom, I wrote it about a homeless guy. Then it's Ladder of Love – 'OK, we're climbing back into a newplace'.

"There's clarity with Lying, All Four Winds – this is me having landed in my home in Hawaii having passed all this early turmoil in a more balanced place."

Hawaii is very much a safe haven for Lukas. Growing up, he split his time between his birthplace of Austin, Texas, and the island, where his dad, legendary country musician Willie Nelson, had a home.

His high school friends remained there into adulthood and so, despite his nomadic lifestyle, it made perfect sense to buy his own place on the island when the time came.

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And it offers no shortage of inspiration when it comes to the music that he loves the most.

He says: "Country music in Hawaii is huge. They call them paniolo cowboys. There's a lot of ranching out there, so my buddies all fish, hunt with bow, I go out there and I still am immersed in country music out there. I like being in the ocean and somewhere I don't have to be working all the time."

Despite the personal nature and, at times, difficult subject matter of the new record, Lukas always wanted it to create a party atmosphere for live audiences.

He was particularly keen for it to be a departure from the more reflective A Few Stars Apart album that preceded it.

As a result, upcoming set lists on the bands UK tour, which begins in Oxford next month, will feature the record heavily.

"When this album comes out we'll be playing a lot of these new songs," he says. "Which is great because they're designed for the live show. I could play this whole record all the way through and it'd be a great live show.

"The last record we did was really reflective and I just thought, well, I wanted to write songs that got people off their seats and in the mood to dance and really be merry.

"It was inspired by many different types of artists that are really great performers: my father [Willie Nelson], Bob Wills, Merle Haggard, the Bakersfield sound is really prevalent in like a Buck Owens type thing.

"It's a very country record in the sense of the type of country I really like. I wanted to make a full on country record that still had my little twists to it but that really paid tribute to the type of singing troubadour style music I grew up on."

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