Local Wire

Lucero @ The Clubhouse Music Venue

Lucero's bio reads like one of those feel-good rock 'n' roll stories that seem too good to be true. Start with the modest beginnings: A punk-infused alt-country band forms in 1998 in Memphis and puts out a pair of albums on the little-known Madjack Records label, eventually signing with the higher-profile Tiger Style Records before the release of their third album, That Much Further West. Cue the disappointing setback: Tiger Style closes shop a year later, leaving the band without a label just as their star is beginning to rise. Cut to period of gritty perseverance: The band starts its own label, Liberty & Lament, and releases two studio albums, a live album, and a reissue of demos and rarities in a span of 18 months, all while spending 150-200 days a year on the road. Finally, the happy ending: Lucero finally lands a major-label deal, signing with Universal Records and releasing the critically acclaimed 1372 Overton Park in 2009. Considering their backstory, Lucero's rowdy, soulful take on country music, highlighted by singer Ben Nichols' world-weary rasp, is about as real as it gets.

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Mike R. Meyer