When an old hit song gets a new spin, sometimes it works and other times, it’s a total miss. In this case, it’s a home run, but with good reason, it’s the original artist’s son singing it. Willie Nelson’s son, Lukas Nelson, with Red Young and Friends, performed an impromptu cover of the hit “Always On My Mind” and while it’s fresh and beautiful, it’s also so reminiscent of Willie, you’d think it was the legendary singer.
Lukas sang the song aboard the 19th Sandy Beaches Cruise during a late night jam some years ago. Lukas also looks a lot like dad too, but it’s his voice that brings to mind Willie in his younger days that’s winning fans over.
Lukas Nelson is a musician, just like dad, as part of a group called Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real. He dropped out of Loyola Marymount University to pursue music full time and never looked back. His band released their debut record in 2010 and collaborated with Neil Young in 2015.
The original version of “Always on My Mind” was recorded by Brenda Lee in 1971 and Elvis Presley sang a cover in 1979. Willie Nelson won a Grammy with his version in 1982.
Lukas and his famous dad appeared together in the music video for his band’s song “Just Outside of Austin” and the band’s album, Rolling Stone notes, “also includes two guest appearances by Lady Gaga after the unlikely duo began working together on the upcoming remake of A Star Is Born.”
In a February 2018 interview with the Kansas City Star, Lukas talked about the difference between working with his dad, versus with Neil Young, noting: “It’s just as magical but in a different way. They’re different stylistically. Dad doesn’t get as rock ’n’ roll as we get sometime. But he can if he wants to. His set is mellower.”
He continued: “I’ve learned a lot being with both of them about stage presence, working a crowd, getting your equipment right on stage, making sure that everything is perfect.”
Interestingly, he spoke of the need to make sure “you travel well,” saying, “Dad travels better than anyone I’ve ever met. He’s really good a keeping his routine, sleeping a lot. Neil travels incredibly well. He’s got a whole exercise truck he brings along with him. He does Pilates every day. He keeps himself strong and fresh. He knows how to take care of his body. And that’s inspiring for somebody 72 years old and dad being 85 almost.”
Among the many comments the “Always on My Mind” video got was one fan who wrote: “I have heard him and Waylon’s son sing ‘Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow up to be Cowboys,’ the intro to the Netflix hit show The Ranch.”
Others left comments like: “Loved it. Closed my my eyes and didn’t know the difference,” “Incredible, he really sounds just like his dad!,” “Identical voice to his amazing father,” and “He is his the clone of his dad, what a wonderful talent in his own right.”