Lucero Three Day Pass

Lucero Three Day Pass

Friday, December 27, 2019 - Sunday, December 29, 2019

8:00 pm

Three Day Pass $136 (plus fees)

This event is 21 and over

Lucero
Lucero
Lucero has long been admired in their hometown of Memphis, where they have hosted “The Lucero
Family Block Party” every spring for a number of years. At the 2018 Block Party they celebrated their
20th anniversary as a band, with the city’s Mayor Jim Strick
land officially declaring it “Lucero Day.”
The group found their name in a Spanish/English dictionary. “Lucero” is variously translated as
“bright star” or “morning star.” None of them can speak Spanish.
It’s been two decades since original members Ben
Nichols, Brian Venable, Roy Berry, and John C.
Stubblefield (keyboardist Rick Steff joined in 2006) started playing shows in Memphis. The band’s
first show was April 13, 1998 at a warehouse space across the street from what is now the National
Civil Right
s Museum, the infamous Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was shot. Their first
set was six songs played to about six people. On August 3, 2018, record release day for
Among the
Ghosts
, the band will be co
-
headlining Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colo
rado.
The band’s ninth studio album,
Among the Ghosts
, is their first for noted Nashville indie label Thirty
Tigers. It was recorded and co
-
produced with Grammy
-
winning engineer/producer and Memphis
native Matt Ross
-
Spang (Jason Isbell, Margo Price, Driv
e by Truckers) at the historic Sam Phillips
Recording Service, the studio built by the legendary producer after outgrowing his Memphis
Recording Service/Sun Studio.
Recorded primarily live as a five
-
piece,
Among the Ghosts
eschews the Stax
-
inspired horns
and Jerry
Lee Lewis
-
style boogie piano featured on some of the band’s past recordings for a streamlined rock &
roll sound that pays homage to their seminal influences as it seeks to push that legacy into the future.
For a band who carried the torch of the
alt
-
country movement back in the 90’s and helped pave the
way for what is now called Americana, Lucero have re
-
discovered what inspired them in the first
place. The sound is more their own and at the same time not exactly like anything they’ve done
before
. This is a band settling into their craft. The 10
-
song disc’s title is both a tribute to the spirits
which roam the streets of their fabled city, as well as the hard road the determinedly independent
band set out on 20 years ago. The band played around 20
0 shows per year for many of those 20
years.
With a nod to his younger brother Jeff Nichols, an acclaimed filmmaker whose movies include
Loving
,
Mud
,
Take Shelter
,
Midnight Special
, and
Shotgun Stories
; Nichols has written songs that are cinematic
short
stories, steeped in Southern gothic lore. There are nods to regional authors like Flannery
O’Connor and Faulkner, as well as newer writers like Larry Brown (
Big Bad Love
,
Fay
), Ron Rash
(The
Cove
,
The World Made Straight
), and William Gay (
The Long Home
).
As the first album he’s written since his marriage and the birth of his now two
-
year
-
old daughter
Izzy, Nichols approached the task as a narrator rather than in first person. It’s a dark palette that
includes tales of a haunting (“Among the Ghosts”), a d
rowning (“Bottom of the Sea), a reckoning with
the devil
(“Everything has Changed”), a divorce (“Always Been You”), and a shoot
-
out (“Cover Me”). And that’s
just Side A. Side B is a letter from a battlefield (“To My Dearest Wife”), a crime (“Long Way Back
Home”), a straight
-
out rocker (“For the Lonely Ones”) and even a spooky spoken
-
word cameo from
actor Michael Shannon, who has appeared in every one of Nichols’ brother’s films. The song’s title
“Back to the Night” references a line from Nick Tosches’ Jerr
y Lee Lewis biography,
Hellfire
. In
addition, there’s a song Nichols wrote for his brother’s movie
Loving
, which appeared in the film and
on the soundtrack, re
-
recorded for
Among the Ghosts
with the whole band.
“You could also say there’s a rescue, a get
away, a survival story and a middle finger to Satan himself,”
laughs Nichols. “It’s all in your perspective.”
Several songs juxtapose going off to battle with a rock & roll band’s endless touring, shifting time
periods like the spirits which haunt the al
bum, the happiness of domestic bliss undercut with fears of
loss and the specter of mortality.
Among the Ghosts
simultaneously reprises the past and looks to the
future, while being firmly anchored in the present.
Musically, the band highlights range fro
m co
-
founding member Brian Venable’s Dire Straits
-
meets
-
War on Drugs guitar pyrotechnics in “Bottom of the Sea” and “Cover Me” to the Springsteen vibe of
“For the Lonely Ones”, Rick Steff’s skeletal piano lines on “Always Been You”, John C’s bass lines in
“Everything Has Changed” and “Long Way Back Home”, and drummer Roy Berry’s dynamic shifts
from the powerful and brutal title track “Among the Ghosts” to the marching drive of “To My Dearest
Wife” and the subtlety of “Loving”. Throughout, Nichols’ bourbon
-
soaked growl has become even
more distinctive and commanding.
Among the Ghosts
offers a timeless perspective on Lucero’s distinctive sound. The lyrics could’ve
been written 200 years ago or yesterday. Representing a new South compared to the one that’s b
een
mythologized, Lucero have formulated their own ideas and culture which, in some cases, contradicts
what came before them (no Confederate flags), but also updates and reconsiders those traditions in a
new light.
“I think we’ve tried to remake this pla
ce that we love and cherish in our own fashion. We are very
proud of where we are from and we’ve spent the last 20 years trying to bring a bit of our version of
home to the rest of the world... It may have taken 20 years, but everything has fallen in place
right
where it needs to be,” acknowledges Nichols. “There were some dark days in those middle years, but
we’ve learned how to do this and survive. We still write heartbreak songs, but now, with a family at
home, it’s a whole new kind of heartbreak.”
Amo
ng the Ghosts lays out that new territory with alacrity, as Lucero shines their Morning Star,
burning just as brightly, if not more so, 20 years later. As one of the album’s song titles so aptly puts
it, “Everything Has Changed”, but one thing hasn’t... Lu
cero’s music remains more vital than ever.
Venue Information:
Sweetwater Music Hall
19 Corte Madera Ave.
Mill Valley, CA, 94941
http://www.sweetwatermusichall.com/