Music Reviews


Live From Atlanta

ATO Records

Over the years, Memphis, Tennessee has evolved as a centrifugal force in the music biz, and Lucero is a prime example of this impact. Heavily influenced by a Bruce Springsteen-colored, country-Americana-rock sound underscored with hints of punk, Lucero is one of those bands that continually tours, day in and day out, and their loyal fan base eats it up. With their consistent, cult-like following, they play to packed, rowdy audiences who shout out requests and join in on sing-alongs. With eight records’ worth of material under their belt and steady touring gigs, it only seemed natural that they would release a live record for their legions of adoring devotees. Cut to a whiskey drinkin’, beer spillin’, boot stompin’ raucous crowd at Atlanta’s Terminal West, and you have all the makings of Live From Atlanta, an epic, 32-song, 2-plus hours live set from November 22-24, 2013.

Fronted by guitarist/singer Ben Nichols, who offers his own unique brand of gravelly vocals, this is a high-energy collective that knows how to rock out and get the crowd pumped. Along with Nichols, Lucero is comprised of guitarist Brian Venable, bassist John C. Stubblefield, drummer Roy Berry, saxophonist Jim Spake, Scott Thompson on trumpet and player-of-all-things-keys and accordion, Rick Steff. Steff, who has worked with the likes of Hank Williams, Jr. and Devon Allman, is a master at his craft and adds a distinct flavor to Lucero’s sound, as does the horn section.

Some of the many highlights include “I Can Get Us Out Of Here,” “Nights Like These,” the Johnny Cash-tinged “Union Pacific Line,” “Women & Work,” (but it’s about whiskey, as Nichols clarifies) and the bluesy, soulful “Goodbye Again.” Other nuggets served up are the boogie-woogie style “Like Lightning” and “Rick’s Boogie,” which has a real Mighty, Mighty Bosstones feel to it, as does “Tears Don’t Matter Much.” Rounding out with “Mom,” which Nichols dedicates to his own mother, “The War,” which features Steff on accordion as Nichols sings in honor of his grandfather, and a one-minute beautiful instrumental, “Bastard’s Lullaby,” the record wraps up with three encores: “A Dangerous Thing,” “The Last Song” and “Fistful of Tears.”

Set for an August 12, 2014 release, Live From Atlanta is the ultimate concert record from a group renowned for tunes about drinking, girls and partying. It’s a pretty safe bet that most people attending one of their shows have had a few, which fits right in with the schemata of the performance. Nichols probably sums it up best in between numbers: “Can I get another shot of whiskey?”


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