Lucero is known as a rowdy and raucous bar band, one that will play your requests and then close the bar down with you after the show. They’re the hometown boys that made good and they spend most of their time on the road playing shows and “ambassadorizing” Memphis.
Their live performances are legendary and continue to be a huge part of their appeal to their fans. And we love a good, loud and drunk rock show just as much as the next person! But we’ve also had the pleasure of seeing singer/songwriter Ben Nichols and pianist/organist Rick Steff play in more intimate settings over the last few years and that’s been a pretty special experience too. We set out to capture one of those performances this afternoon at Ardent Studios. We are pretty happy with the results.
Tonight is The Lucero Family Barbecue at The Hi-Tone. The band will be going on a 8PM, so be sure to get there early. We have a feeling that it will be jam-packed since this show will be subbing for a record release party for their latest album, Women & Work. We hear there are free hot dogs if you get there when the doors open at 5PM.
Women & Work is a love letter from Lucero to its hometown, Memphis, Tennessee. “Having a band in Memphis puts you in a tradition,” says Lucero frontman Ben Nichols. “We started at punk rock shows, not necessarily playing punk rock, but coming from the outside, from a bohemian place.”
The bohemian tradition is just as strong in Memphis as the city’s series of international hits. The popularity of Sun, Stax, Elvis, and Al Green doesn’t diminish the influence of the blues, Jim Dickinson, and Alex Chilton. The bridge between the shadows and the spotlight has become the heart of Lucero: Unafraid to mix pop with their anti-pop, they always charge into new territory.
As punks, Lucero were masters of restraint, with country music beer stains dribbled down the front of their shirts. As whiskey-soaked bohemians, they didn’t shy from sweeping Americana tableaus. And then they added an accordion. “When we started, we were building on a foundation we weren’t aware of,” says guitarist Brian Venable. “Listening back to our early stuff, we hear ourselves reference the old Sun Records. We didn’t hear it or feel it then, but we hear it and feel it now.”