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No one goes about purposely stacking formidable odds against themselves, but most are aware that this might be an outcome once a particular path is chosen. “Touring Rock Band” is a career that comes standard with a mind-numbing mountain of adversity, and there comes a point when the parties involved need to decide if the band has the wherewithal and integrity to push everything else aside and drop the hammer on one solid drive. Lucero made this decision a number of years ago, perhaps around the time that local Memphis clubs started to welcome a Lucero show, the band started to establish a backbone of touring options, and when that ever elusive regional to national line was first crossed. Memphis, TN, it must be noted, is a tar pit, sometimes trapping undeserving artists for their entire careers, sometimes creating legendary cult artists, and infrequently dispersing success stories. We may be on the brink of the latter, relatively of course, with Lucero. And I’m sure that all four members will agree that it’s about fucking time. Lucero began quite humbly with vocalist/guitarist Ben Nichols and guitarist Brian Venable. They wanted to play quiet country-influenced songs at punk rock shows. Nichols did the obligatory punk rock route playing in a couple of bands. Venable did the obligatory punk route sans the “playing in a couple bands.” Bassist John Stubblefield and drummer Roy Berry had bounced around local Memphis bands since what feels like the days of the Carter administration; and Berry has had his thumb in just about every musical pie one could imagine. The band started out drummer-less and with a violinist on board, playing to your garden-variety “20 or so friends” crowds. Parties, the warehouse, bars that are now memories, the usual. Over the years the crowd grew, and so did the touring schedule. Not to mention the band grew into it’s own, broader sound. Last year, after the release of their third full-length album, 2003’s That Much Further West, Lucero began to break through into their first hard-won wave of success. They toured with a wide range of artists - Against Me!, The Breeders, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, The Weakerthans; all reflecting the diversity of Lucero’s appeal. It was in 2004 that the music press also began to take pointed notice of the band - Pitchfork published a rave review of That Much Further West. Rolling Stone included it in their “Hot List,” noting it as “the country album the Replacements never made.” Alternative Press named The Attic Tapes, the band’s 4-track debut EP, one of the “top 5 home recordings of all time.” UK indie bible MOJO listed them among the “Johnny Cash torch-carriers.” This praise was drawn on the heel’s of a series of industry setbacks, as their new record label home, New York City’s indie - Tiger Style - closed up shop a mere four months after That Much Further West’s release. This followed several years of label problems, personnel shake-ups, and the musician’s collective hand-to-mouth existence. All this in addition to non-stop touring in support of their earlier releases, 2000’s self-titled Lucero and 2002’s Tennessee, which were both released on local Memphis label Madjack. The complexity involved in making this album and all of Lucero’s uphill business battles are to be included in the groundbreaking forthcoming documentary, Dreaming In America by New York filmmaker, Aaron Goldman. In need of some much-deserved forward motion, it was decided that Nobody’s Darlings was to be produced by legendary Memphis musician and producer Jim Dickinson (who has worked with The Replacements, Big Star, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Bob Dylan, and the Rolling Stones). The record was recorded and mixed in his barn in north Mississippi. “He calls it the Zebra Ranch,” says Nichols. “We'd known Jim for a long time, mainly through his sons, Luther and Cody, who play in the North Mississippi Allstars. We'd been on tours together and recorded our first two records with their help. Jim saw us play with the Allstars on New Years Eve in 2004. I think that was the first time he thought we had progressed enough as a band to sign on as producer for our next record.” Some things to get straight... this record is rock and roll. The last one was rock, but a different kind of rock. Much of the “indie” is removed in favor of a proud and tasteful regionalism, and the “country” that folks love to play up about Lucero is now nothing more than a lazy side step from those who don’t pay attention. Nichols says “The songwriting on the new record differs from the previous record in that these songs were written in a shorter period of time and with a more focused vision. In that way it is more like our earlier self-titled record. Whereas with that record I wanted indie country-rock, with this new one I wanted southern-rock. I had a definite idea in mind when I was writing these songs that I wanted a rock and roll record.” “Along with his desire to capture us on record as a “band", Jim also brought a lot of history to the recording process,” Nichols says. “I think his numerous stories about Alex Chilton, Jerry Lawler, Paul Westerberg, Zolar X and Black Oak Arkansas before they were Black Oak Arkansas had an impact on us as we worked. He made us feel like a real band making a real record, even though at the time we didn't even have a record label. He would tell Brian that his guitar playing reminded him of Bob Stinson. He would tell Roy that he was a mad genius who should be open to taking free reign on the recording process. All of this positive feedback kept morale very high. All that, along with the stories put a certain excitement in us as we played. I think Jim wanted that energy to seep onto the record as well.” “The way the guitar lines fit together has always been an important part of what we do. Since the beginning, Brian and I both knew we weren't the most technically skilled guitar players. I think maybe even in past interviews we’ve said something to the effect of ‘you put us together and we make one good guitar player.’ Although this new record is more of a rock and roll record, I think the guitars fit together in the same way they always have. I know that was something Jim paid a lot of attention to while we were recording.” “Being from the South is important I think. It gives the songs a place. It makes Lucero what it is. The Pogues could never have been from anywhere other than Ireland. Bruce Springsteen could only be from Jersey. I'd like to think where we’re from comes through in the songs.”
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Average Rating : 4.8              Total Reviews: 19

Lucero  03/18/2009            
Every Lucero CD is great. I wish they would get a new album out, I can't wait to see what awesome music they pump out next. Keep on Keepin on, and come to Stephenville Texas!
Lucero  10/24/2007            
I'd heard this band referenced to my two favorite bands--The Replacements and Bruce Springsteen--so I had to give them a shot. They sound more like the latter with a little of Steve Earle thrown in. It's real raunchy though, and if you like your vocals rough as sandpaper (and sometimes you should) then check them out. The potential is there for iconic country-tinged rock if only they'd tighten up a bit and maybe smooth out the vocals a tad. When they're on it's really impressive though. Check out "Get Us Out of Here Tonight" and "Cass" and you'll see what I mean.
Lucero  11/25/2006            
Ben Nichols
holy crap is that review by a member of "Paperhearts?" because if it is I am humbled in your presence..just kidding..kind that music man. God bless Lucero and rock/folk
Lucero  10/04/2006            
lucky 13
Buy them all!!!!!
Lucero  09/20/2006            
Ya'll are my favorite band EVER!!!! My Best Girl and Chain Link Fence are the best songs ever. I have seen ya'll in Stephenville, the best concert ive ever been to. keep on rockin!!!
Lucero  08/30/2006            
Randy S.
Songs like "My Best Girl", "Raisin' Hell", "Drink "Till We're Gone", "It Gets the Worst at Night", and "Banks of the Arkansas" make this one of the best Lucero albums ever.
Lucero  04/28/2006            
Brandon from Texas
I go to school in Arkansas. The concert in Conway last night was the single best concert I've ever been to, and perhaps one of the best nights of my life. This band is real. And I don't mean "they are the new cool thing." I mean they are real. And they make I-40 go a lot smoother as I'm coming back home to Texas. They've given me a reason to enjoy Arkansas and I could care less whether or not anyone else in the world likes them except for me. I like Bowen, Rogers, and Stoney. I enjoy bluegrass on a lazy day with some fiddle and mandoline and I also really like Bleu Edmondson...but Lucero is my hands down my favorite band and always will be.
Lucero  02/25/2006            
Kyle R
Great cd cant get enough of it listen to it every time i get in my truck
Lucero  02/01/2006            
very well done, and insightful look into one of the hardest working bands in america. It is very open and personal. If you know nothing about the band you will instantly want to see them live.
Lucero  11/01/2005            
You will like it.
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