Lucero's Brian Venable on Metallica Being Dead to Him, ATO Records, and Women & Work

Memphis rockers Lucero have a timeless quality, a lowdown, from-the-gut, blue-collar rock 'n' roll sound that could have been recorded any time since the late '60s (save for a few flashes of class of '77 punk strut).

Timeless, but not timely, according to guitarist Brian Venable. After nearly a decade of indie label toil and a largely self-released catalog, the band hopped on the major label train, signing to Universal/Republic for 2009's 1372 Overton Park.

"True to Lucero fashion, we had excellent timing," Venable says. "We finally got signed to a major label just seconds before the whole infrastructure crumbled and disappeared. [We were real late to that party."

The band was promptly dropped, but things turned around nicely for the band, who's back with a brand new record, Women & Work, out today on ATO Records, the label founded by Dave Matthews and current home to rootsy acts like My Morning Jacket, Dawes, Alabama Shakes, and Drive-By Truckers.

"ATO said 'You get out there and tour and sell records, and we'll back you.'"

The record, which advances the Muscle Shoals soul and gospel touches of 1372 Overton Park, finds the band primed to hit the road, including a stop at Metallica's Orion Music and More Festival in New Jersey. Venable was happy to discuss Metallica, the new record, and the band's new home.

Lucero is scheduled to perform Monday, March 19, at Crescent Ballroom.

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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.