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Lucero (from the album Should’ve Learned by Now on Liberty & Lament Records/Thirty Tigers) (by Lee Zimmerman)
The Memphis-based band Lucero — Ben Nichols (vocals, guitar), Roy Berry (drums), John C. Stubblefield (bass), Rick Steff (piano, organ, accordion), and Brian Venable (guitar) — are the epitome of a rough ’n tumble Roots Rock outfit, one that makes irascible, unapologetic insurgence their stock-in-trade. Should’ve Learned by Now follows suit, but also strikes a decidedly self-effacing tone as well. It’s a clear acknowledgement of imperfection, remorse, and regret — qualities common to most people, but that are especially striking in this era of polemics, a pandemic, and political strife.
Still, while the title attests to these failings, the music remains as riveting as ever, whether it’s expressed through the solid wallop and bitter barbs tossed by “One Last F.U.”, the desperation and desire echoing through “Macon If We Make It”, the piano-driven resilience of “Raining for Weeks”, the unabated revelry of “At the Show”, the bittersweet reflection of “Time to Go Home”, or the sadder sentiments expressed by “Drunken Moon” and “She Leads Me”. This is music engrained with grit and gravitas, resulting in songs that are profound both in principle and in terms of the elevated emotions that reside at their core.
Ben Nichols himself is responsible composing all the material, and it’s a mark not only of the fact he can come clean about his failings and share them in song, but that he also has the ability to make each of these offerings so compelling, one can’t help but relate to the same sentiments. The title track sums it all up succinctly. Ultimately then, Lucero’s reputation as an Everyman outfit, one that conveys the struggles and pent-up frustrations of those that are simply trying to make their way in the world, is obviously intact. As for the conflicting thoughts conveyed herein, who’s to say what are the right choices? If as Lucero suggests, we should’ve in fact learned by now, credit them for at least offering some small measure of clarity and consolation. (By Lee Zimmerman)
Listen and buy the music of Lucero from AMAZON
For more information head on over to the Lucero website
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