Sticks and Stones

REVIEW: “Sticks and Stones” by Lukas Nelson and POTR is an instant mood boost


Sticks and Stones – Lukas Nelson and POTR

It’s not surprising that Lukas Nelson shares some similarities with his dad. But the similarities aren’t simply genetic. Like his dad, Lukas refuses to be confined to any one genre. Another similarity is that Lukas also boasts a fan base that seem to support him wholeheartedly no matter which direction he goes musically.

On the new album Sticks and Stones, Lukas again shows that he is pretty much a genre unto himself. No matter what style he chooses for a song, it seems to work out pretty well both for the band and the listener.

The title track seems steeped in the tradition of The Allman Brothers Band. It features slide guitar and a rock n roll piano part that The Allman Brothers made a signature part of their sound. Another similarity to Allman Brothers is that it showcases all the members of the band without focusing too much on any one part. It is a true ensemble piece. While you’re hearing this wonderful blend of instruments, you also hear the clever lyricism right from the beginning of the song. He opens the track by singing, “Sometimes when I’m uninspired, I take a hit to get me higher. Some folks might describe me as a sinner. You can call me anything. You could never hurt my feelings. Just try not to call me late for dinner.”

“Alcohallelujah” is a great example of how Lukas will not be limited to just one genre. At the beginning of the song, you hear backing vocals that sound like a gospel choir and guitars that are rooted in the blues. As the song continues, you hear a piano part that sounds like the accompaniment to a saloon scene in a movie.

That’s not the only song where you’ll hear some gospel influence. “Ladder of Love” sounds like one of those uptempo gospel songs that gets the entire congregation up and dancing. It is propelled by a beat that is sure to get you shuffling your feet. It also features a rollicking piano part that is a good demonstration of how the roots of rock & roll are in gospel music. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself a little sweaty when you hear this one.

This album shows some of the poetry in Nelson’s lyrics. A good example is in “Overpass,” when he sings, “7-11 Slurpee at noon, rain fallin’ hard on a plastic spoon.” Those are some lines that could just as easily have been penned by Tom Waits. That poetic quality is also in the chorus when he sings “Rainbow over the overpass, better look quick ‘cause it ain’t gonna last.”

Sticks and Stones by Lukas Nelson and POTR is an album that can instantly boost your mode. Whether he sings about entering the wrong house or appreciating where you are, you’re sure to feel something. The album keeps you guessing as to what you might hear next, but every song is a gem. The album will be available everywhere on July 14. Score your copy here.

Enjoy our previous coverage here: Show Review: Lukas Nelson & POTR 10/29

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