Austin Lucas has taken a sharp learning curve over the course of his career, transitioning from a journeyman troubadour to an incisive songwriter who pours his heart and soul into each of his offerings. His new album, Between the Moon & the Midwest (out May 27 on Last Chance Records), demonstrates that succinctly, mixing traditional honky-tonk and fiery renegade anthems with the passionate plea of a man who is desperately attempting to confront his personal demons.
Lucas’ last album, Stay Reckless, attracted all manner of critical kudos, but with a full schedule of constant touring, a marriage that was caving in, and a prolonged period of anxiety and depression, the songs that began to emerge reflected his concerns about love, loss, and the push-and-pull of the daily grind. Lucas doesn’t give in to those darker designs, though.
Songs such as “Call the Doctor,” “Unbroken Hearts,” “Ain’t We Free,” and “Kristie” project an air of rugged defiance. They’re all gritty, ramshackle rockers that assert an authority that belies the singer’s inner turmoil. Meanwhile, “William,” “Pray For Rain,” and “Midnight” cast doubts in a lost, lonely haze. They find Lucas projecting his troubled spirit while coming to grips with those forces that had pierced his soul and tainted his perspective.
Co-produced by Lucas and Joey Kneisser of the band Glossary, The Moon & the Midwest is a rich blend of defiance and desperation, an album that will forever mark a turning point in his tattered trajectory.