The band whose name is taken from the Spanish word for "blazing
star" are back with their latest release The Attic Tapes
following last year's release of their fourth full length album Nobody's
Darling. Previously, Lucero had released their self-titled
debut in 2000, a sophomore album in 2002 called Tennessee,
and a third effort in 2003 entitled That Much Further West.
Lucero's music has been described as country punk with raw grit, grating
vocals, and edgy punk textures mingled with lap steel, accordion,
mandolin, and violin seedlings. They have been aligned with Ryan
Adams, Marc Bolan, the North Mississippi Allstars,
and Hank Williams Jr.. They make bluegrass with a brazen approach
as if the templates of the genre formatted by Ricky Skaggs
and Patty Loveless don't apply to them.
There are traditional sonic planes in Lucero's music and inventive
chord plays that personalize the songs, projecting a sense that
these songs have private significance. They have a global appeal
in that people can relate to the down home emotions attached to
family and friends being portrayed in the lyrics, while the music
verses dance with the vocal melody, like partners in a flamenco
dance. There is a romantic essence in the songs like in the number
"The Blue And The Gray," which strolls sweetly as the
accordion finger work moves in step with the syrupy drizzle of the
vocals. "Took The Fall" is an easy piece to fall in love
with drawn in by its rolling drum and guitar patterns and vocal
Unlike the band's previous album which surfaced more rock drives,
this album concentrates on the band's country tones. It's as if
last year's release was designed to push them forward and this album
caused them to look back and reflect on the memories nestled in
their past, like in the track "Diamond State Heartbreak."
The ambling piece with lithe violin gambols and a repetitive guitar
hook unravels pent up emotions through the lyrics: "Wished
I didn't want you/ Wished I didn't want you back/ You were my biggest
loss so far/ You broke my heart."
Emotions are disentangled and released in these tracks while the
music passages sweetly cradle the lyrical phrases. The tempos amble
as the vocals drivel in a late at night rummy-induced state of mind
when you're simply left with your thoughts and the afterglow of
your experiences. These songs come from that period of afterglow,
when the long day has come to a close and you wonder how you got
here, like in the song "Summer Song." The songs reflect
who they are and what it is like coming from the South.
Lucero have also included five bonus tracks which they dubbed their
"Cowboy Demos." These tracks share a likeness with Johnny
Cash, Amber Dotson, and Rodney Crowell. Tracks like
" Wish Me Luck," "Katherine And Me," and "So
Long Tonight" brim with whiskey-hued twangs and plunging flanges
stringed by honest lyrical ruminations. "My Best Girl" personifies
the guitar, giving it qualities of a true mate like having felt every
emotion poured out from the musician playing it and being there for
the musician without a complaint. Lucero plays showing all their heartaches
and all their joy expressed through the resonance changes and clipped
chords of their instrument lines.
Lucero's charm is their honesty in their lyrics and their music expressions.
The music comes from some place genuine. They say that no one in the
band is striving to be another Bruce Springsteen, but in Springsteen's
early days, he wasn't striving for anything more than honesty in his
music. In 2004, New York filmmaker, Aaron Goldman was taken
by the band's character and made a documentary on them entitled Dreaming
In America which was taped while the band was on tour.
Lucero comes from Memphis, Tennessee with a rowdy bunch of ruffians
who believed that country/bluegrass music needed some chops and a
fearless spine to go where others negated as genuine. Lead singer,
accordion player, and guitarist Ben Nichols joined guitarist
Brian Venable. They acquired Roy Berry on drums and
John Stubblefield on bass guitar. Lucero used additional musicians
for The Attic Tapes including Reiko on violin, Luther
Dickinson on lap steel, Shane Calloway on drums, Jeremy
Freeze on bass, and Mark McKinney on backing vocals and
guitar. For a band who describe themselves as a "Touring Rock
Band," it's been their tours that have kept them afloat and built
up their momentum with the public, and they don't seem to want to
stop it all now.
1. Into Your Eyes
2. Diamond State Heartbreak
3. Hello Sadness
4. Gone To The Sea
5. Summer Songs
6. In Lonesome Times
7. A Heart So True
8. Took The Fall
9. The Blue And The Gray
Bonus Tracks (The Cowboy Demos):
1. Wish Me Luck
2. Katherine and Me
3. So Long Tonight
4. My Best Girl
5. Kiss The Bottle
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