[sic] Magazine

Lucero – Women & Work

Long distance information get me …. the new album by Memphis, Tennessee country rockers Lucero . On ‘Downtown (Intro)’ singer Ben Nichols sounds like Paul Westerberg , but into ‘On My Way Downtown’ it’s more a Jason and The Scorchers celebration of a very large Saturday night. The barroom is all over this album. The title track is a horn driven Honky Tonk advice manual from an old hand to a green kid. Basically, accept the shit you’re gonna get at work and from women and go get pissed. The bravado is short lived as the boozy philosopher is waiting for a woman on the following track (‘It May Be Too Late’) and likely to be waiting a long time. They know how to have a good time, this lot, but they also recognise you will pay the piper eventually!

‘Juniper’ is blessed with a magnificent riff and a celebratory vigour that is infectious and also brings in an organ and brass-backing that local Stax label would have been proud of. I gather the horn section is as recent an addition as on their previous album ( Women And Work is their 9th). If so they sound utterly at home now, cooking up some soulful settings for the band to blast from. There are some big rock moves on this album too – ‘I Can’t Stand To Leave’ is a dark masterwork and as good as, say, ‘Blood On The Scarecrow’ by John Mellencamp or Copperhead Road era Steve Earle , which is to say very good.

The album is perfectly balanced between boastful and broken-hearted – nostalgic up to a point, but as the road beckons again Lucero looks as much to tomorrow as yesterday. It’s as comfortable as an old cowboy boot, but one that was stitched by a master-craftsman and has many more shit-kicking years left in it. They are playing the UK in November (including a four night stand at the Brixton Windmill) and look set to prove that the (musical) South will rise.

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