Reading the liner notes for Luceros self-titled debut album, its no surprise to see that brothers Cody and Luther Dickinson (of the Grammy-nominated North Mississippi Allstars) had a hand in making this record. Like N.M.A., Memphis-based Lucero successfully combines punk-rock and geographic roots with an authenticity few other bands are able to manage.
For Lucero, the distance between the garage and the barroom is short. The quartet (guitarists Brian Venable and Ben Nichols, bassist Roy Berry, and drummer John C. Stubblefield) works its way through midtempo rock songs such as Little Silver Heart and hill-country blues numbers such as Banks Of The Arkansas with the same lo-fi ease. When combined with the barrelhouse piano of East Memphis Slim and Luther Dickinsons lap steel, the music really takes off. Band members and guest players alike shine on Raising Hell, a song about a little brother that wont settle down, and All Sewn Up, which describes a rock n roller held together by little more than bad tattoos.
On the albums closing track, It Gets The Worst At Night, its easy to forget youve heard a hundred other songs about driving all night on a half-tank of gas trying to forget about a girl. Indeed, the ground covered here is nothing new whiskey, loneliness, girls, guitars. But the songs always seem honest, thanks largely to Nichols vocals. The temptation for comparison is strong Tom Waits, Mike Ness, Ronnie Van Zant, even Springsteen but Nichols possesses a raspy wistfulness all his own.