Lucero (Sp., trans. "bright star") transformed from their twang-punk origins (in response to and reaction against their country roots) to their full-fledged Memphis rock and roll band status over eight albums and fourteen years, although it's seemed like an overnight extreme makeover to some of their fans.
As music fans, many of us have our go-to favorites and the rest of our playlists meander through other favorites and new obsessions, like the children's game The Blob, ebbing and flowing in random directions, pulling in little bits here and there from all sorts of places--ultimately redefining its basis by the elements picked up along the way and ending up as something totally different and unintended in the end. Lucero's path has resembled this game, pulling in elements that alone are not revolutionary, but when incorporated into the Lucero sound, create something altogether new for the band as a whole. With the addition of the horns, this series of nips and tucks has led to a new Lucero, with the same foundation, but spruced up and enhanced to such a degree that some people do not recognize it, yet the band still feels like themselves on the inside.
That said, Lucero has grown in ways that they might never have imagined just ten years ago. From headliners of smaller venues doing it on their own for years, to becoming the support act for large-scale tours with high-profile acts, then back to headlining mid-sized venues, Lucero has seen the benefits and balance of trading profit for profile and back again, although the process was probably humbling (author's assessment, not their statement). Their most recent album, Women and Work, has brought many new fans to their music, while leaving some long-term followers wishing for the old days. As creative people driven by what is new for them, the members of Lucero will continue to evolve and hopefully bring along their existing fans to their new sounds as well as bring new listeners to their music. They are not going to make "another Tennessee eight more times."
This post originally appeared in an expanded form on http://countryfriedrock.org/1232-lucero/ with the full playlist. Stream the entire radio show or download the podcast. Enjoy the music & let us know what you think. -SS