Showing posts with label Lucero. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lucero. Show all posts

Nov 28, 2018

Lucero / "Everything Has Changed" / CBS This Morning

Lucero Deserves an ACL Taping!

by Robert Dean

Last week Lucero made their network television debut after 20 years, performing a few tracks off their newest record, Among The Ghosts on CBS This Morning. Finally, the squares of America got a front row view for one of the best bands in America giving it living rooms across the country ...straight, no chaser. The band who was once our dirty little secret is getting bigger and bigger, and it only took two decades for it to happen.

With that performance, the band deserves those much sought after spots on the late night stages of Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert. All of these hackneyed bands who release a record and get dropped are pushed onto those stages thanks to a healthy PR machine and backroom deals, all the while, the best dudes from Memphis have been slowly but surely building the brand to epic proportions. 

But also this got me thinking: Lucero deserves a shot at an Austin City Limits taping. 

The band has roared through Austin for two decades, and they’ve grown from a band played a half-filled Emo’s back Red River to a band headlining Stubb’s, which is considered one of the biggest and hardest to fill rock and roll venue’s in town. There aren't many venues in Austin that the band hasn't played at this point. 

Lucero deserves their shot at the true music diehards in America; they’ve played the Moody Theater (I was there), but it wasn’t that much-lauded taping, that moment that completely changes the way people view a band.

A lot of good bands will never receive any significant music awards, but if there’s a little nod to their credibility, it’s getting an ACL taping. Lucero deserves that respect. They’ve always shown up in Austin, and have always given it all they had, and in turn, this city adores them. 

One of the best things about Lucero is their willingness to play every town all of the other bands skip over. They'll play a smaller venue in Alabama or even fly up to Alaska. That's what a working-class band does for their fans, and in turn, we should do something for them. Lucero deserves to be placed in the files alongside Willie Nelson, Sturgill Simpson, Jack White, Tom Waits, Asleep At The Wheel, and Dale Watson. 

I don’t know if we start tagging the ACL people in Tweets, or start one of those petitions, but let’s try to do something to get those dudes a taping.  

Nov 5, 2018

No Sleep Roundup: The Ramones, High on Fire, RHCP, etc.

by Robert Dean

Hey kids, let’s Round-Up!

If there was an award for burnout, I think I’d be at least in strong contention to win Burner of The Year. I’ve been writing a lot of stuff lately, and there’s no end in sight. 

I typically work on the weekends, playing catch up on writing I owe, but this weekend, I’m seeing Joshua Hedley AND Lucero. I will likely need an IV by Sunday. (No one sees Lucero sober.)

Pray for me. 

This past weekend was the Texas Book Fair, and in my adventures visiting my friends @ Clash Books, I stumbled on Why The Ramones Matter, and I’m psyched on this book. It’s a collection of stories, anecdotes, and observations on why our world is still impacted by these four guys from Queens who were all taken way too soon. 

Todd Burge, singer-songwriter dude from West Virginia has two records dropping at the same time, with each being recorded 32 years apart. The earlier of the two is straight up garage rock in the style of the Stooges, while the newer record is stripped down Americana ballads. I’m a first record kinda guy, but both are easily able to stoke a fire for plenty of Y'all. 

Hardcore/metal legends, Integrity covered Ozzy’s Bark at The Moon for Halloween. It’s fun and weird. 

Slipknot has a new song called “All Out Life” which sounds A LOT like their first record. 

High on Fire canceled their US tour because Matt Pike lost his big toe. Is it me or does this make him way more metal?

The Red Hot Chili Peppers played a few tunes at Chad Smith’s kid’s high school on Halloween, but it prompts me to ask a more significant, more depressing question: do these kids even know who the Chili Peppers are? 

Kids today like music that sounds like Pepsi commercials made by shitheads with face tattoos. I’m no Chili Peppers fan, but I wonder if they primarily played for all of the middle-aged teachers like me vs. the demographic who buys those $40 tee shirts. 

Laura Jane Grace listened to Deftones White Pony for the first time with Noisey, and it’s as pretentious and exhausting as it sounds. 

Converge mastermind Kurt Ballou offered gives a tour of his God City Studio aka the place where all of the best records are made. 

Ashrr is a David Bowie meets Stranger Things theme song band that’s pretty sweet if you’re into dark synth-y stuff. NPR’s All Songs Considered even featured it. 

That’s all I got. Stay weird. 

Aug 23, 2018

Lucero: Our Dream Set Lists

~intro by Robert Dean

If there’s a band that deserves to finally break through to the next level, it’s Lucero. They’re the humble road dogs who never quit, and continually deliver the goods. And with Among The Ghosts debuting at #2 on the Billboard Independent Albums chart and the band celebrating 20 years of existence, we wanted to take a minute and gush with pride and love for the best dudes from Memphis. It's about damn time for a Grammy nod for these boys.

Considering a few of us (Trailer, Chad, & Robert) have seen the band live more than they can count on two hands, we wanted to put together dream set lists. Just for funsies, because you know, NERD ALERT. 

The only rules are: 15 songs and an encore (although Lucero routinely plays 20+ songs per show).

Robert Dean’s dream Lucero set: 

Everything Has Changed 
I Can Get us Out of Here 
Among The Ghosts 
Baby Don’t You Want Me
Nights Like These
Drink Till We’re Gone 
Sweet Little Thing 
Hey Darlin’ Do You Gamble 
Texas & Tennessee 
On My Way Downtown
For The Lonely Ones
Raisin’ Hell 
Hate & Jealousy

Tears Don’t Matter Much  


Can’t You Hear Them Howl
For the Lonely Ones
The Man I Was
To My Dearest Wife
Darby’s Song

Went Looking For Warren Zevon’s Los Angeles 
Among the Ghosts
Woke Up In New Orleans
Hey Darlin’ Do You Gamble?
They Called Her Killer
All Sewn Up
Texas & Tennessee
Nights Like These
Goodbye Again
All These Love Songs

The Closer You Get (Alabama cover)
Tears Don’t Matter Much


The Mountain

Among the Ghosts
All These Love Songs
Chain Link Fence
Tonight Ain't Gonna Be Good
My Best Girl
Texas & Tennessee
Sweet Little Thing
That Much Further West
Nights Like These
What Else Would You Have Me Be?
Raising Hell
Noon As Dark As Midnight
It Gets the Worst at Night
Kiss the Bottle

Tears Don't Matter Much


Downtown (Intro)
On My Way Downtown
Like Lightning
Last Night in Town
The War
She's Just That Kind of Girl
I Can Get Us Out of Here Tonight

Sweet Little Thing
Darby's Song
Johnny Davis
The Devil and Maggie Chascarillo
Can't Feel a Thing
What Are You Willing to Lose?
Sounds of the City

The Mountain


For the Lonely Ones
Last Night in Town
Little Silver Heart
To My Dearest Wife
Among the Ghosts
Raising Hell
That Much Further West
Sweet Little Thing
Bottom of the Sea
Sixes & Sevens
All Sewn Up
Texas & Tennessee
Nights Like These
Chain Link Fence
Tears Don't Matter Much

San Francisco
Drink Till We're Gone


Can't You Hear Them Howl
I don't think there would be a better damn way to begin a Lucero show than this opening riff. 
Cover Me
Little Silver Heart
Nights Like These
Watch It Burn
What Else Would You Have Me Be?
I feel confident a show that began with these first 6 songs would absolutely create a frenzied-as-hell crowd.  And, I am all for it.  Let's burn this whole thing down!
Sweet Little Thing
Last Night In Town
This song was played at the first Lucero show (I think) I went to with my Dad and brother back in my home state of TN and it meant a lot at the time to me since I was leaving to come back up to D.C.  I wish it was played every single show I attended.  
Tears Don't Matter Much
Hate & Jealousy
I haven't seen this song or Sing Me No Hymns live before and I have to believe that these would absolutely be scorchers live.
Sing Me No Hymns
That Much Further West
To My Dearest Wife

On My Way Downtown
Sound Of The City

The War->Raising Hell
I know I'm cheating here, but I think this would be a killer way to do an encore.  You can't have a Lucero show without The War and Raising Hell is a life affirming way to end my night of Lucero's perfect set list.

Aug 2, 2018

Album Review / Lucero / Among the Ghosts

Ghosts No More: Lucero Have Come Home

by Robert Dean

After two decades in the game, Lucero has reached one of those critical milestones as a band: people care about their new music. 

As many of their peers are relegated to being humored when they play new songs live, Lucero’s fans crave new music, they want the stories singer Ben Nichols crafts from his years on the road, with a heart that’s taken a beating. The darkness of Lucero is what keeps people coming back, and always will. 

On their new record, Among The Ghosts, Lucero have tapped into their hard-living past, the present as the perennial road dogs, but also, what Lucero will mean down the line. Considering the guys in the band haven’t had regular jobs since before they could legally buy beer, it’s an interesting pretense for a core that’s never broken up, but also, evolved together as a unit. 

A Lucero show isn’t a concert; it’s a drunken hangout. The bar hums with copious amounts of whiskey and the crack of a tallboy. The crowd hollering along is a part of the ritual, a moment with your tribe saying that this room understands you, that this moment, these tattooed jerks can lead you somewhere honest, somewhere that only the baptized understand. 

For many of us, we see those songs, those moments of anathema as a reflection of our own mistakes. Ben Nichols managed to take when we feel alone and broken, but shapes his pain into an experience that strangers share, and for many, to the point of tears. Lucero’s darkness, their self-loathing, their regrets, shame, the world pushing against them, against us – was the bond, the communion. 

Fans of the band have a preconceived idea of what Lucero is. The thing is that they’re an emotional collective people feel like they have ownership of. It’s a special place to be in hearts when you can fill a room in any corner of America, and a good 50% of those people  have your band’s logo tattooed on them. The songs are anthems that timestamp people’s hearts and mean different things do different parts of the country. 

For the yankees, Lucero is a band drawn up from the Southern mud, a group that rips apart a room and lets them kick up their heels, hoisting their drinks in hand, shouting along to drinking songs and bummer tunes alike. For the southerners, Lucero is a mixture of country idealism, but with the punk rock ethos so many in the crowd lived through in a pre-internet age, when having tattoos and a Black Flag shirt, but a Hank Williams tape in the car meant something much different than it does today. Lucero even played Alaska, finding a way to give people who are far removed from the continental US something to drink about. 

But, then Ben Nichols got happy. He got married, and later he became a dad. Word around the campfire was the band just couldn’t run on the same kind of smoke as it had in its past, for the fans, it was a long sigh of, “well, at least we’ve got the old songs because the new ones are gonna suck.” 

We figured we’d lost our hillbilly Tom Waits; Lucero was now going to be another band where we endure the new tunes to get to “Drink Till We’re Gone” or “Tears Don’t Matter Much.”

When Among The Ghosts was announced, it wasn’t a surprise by any means; Lucero is a prolific band that releases records on a fairly regular cadence. It was just that the optimism of possibility wasn’t there, that we were going to get another Women and Work or All A Man Should Do. While both records have a few solid tunes sprinkled throughout, they’re not the powerhouses that make up the band’s back catalog like the perennial favorite, Tennessee, or That Much Further West or even 1372 Overton Park

Then the songs started leaking out. Lucero flipped the script; they challenged what they’d become over the last few records. 

While the Stax-heavy horns were an experiment in identity, Lucero is so much more. Lucero is regret in song form but also knowing what life looks like from a lot of lenses. Among The Ghosts captures that familiar darkness that fans craved so much, it broke our hearts again, this time not because the bar is yelling the last call, but because the reality of life on the road, temptation, and sin are all out there, but Nichols isn’t interested. 

Among The Ghosts is a personal dive into what it’s like to leave children behind, as drummer Roy Berry recently became a father, too. Guitarist Brian Venable has a son who recently toured with his dad for the first time. These guys are living their years out on the road while their children grow, while their hometown of Memphis goes on without them. 

“For The Lonely Ones” is easily one of the best Lucero songs of all time. It’s better than anything off of the last three records combined. If there was a way to explain what Lucero means, what they feel like, in one moment, the encroaching analog darkness that slithers from the tape and through the vinyl is there, ready to be devoured. 

“Cover Me” is a howling madman of a tune that encapsulates a yearning, an animal fire that’s not like any of the previous Lucero anthems. While it’s about Butch Cassidy, it feels much more nefarious, which is a good thing. “Cover Me” feels violent, but without a threat. Title track “Among The Ghosts” doesn’t feel forced. Instead, it’s a promise to Nichols wife and child, explaining his world one tortured vowel at a time. 

This is the Lucero record fans have wanted. This is what Lucero is, intrinsically: those guys sweating it out in a room, figuring out the vibe, their history, but also knowing who they are. While some bands get progressively tamer with each release, Lucero are more punk now than ever. They’ve always straddled a line of punk and country as kissing cousins, there’s nothing the band can do that would shock or surprise the faithful. The blood is on the tracks. 

Among The Ghosts is the moment that refocuses the dynamic of what Lucero is: While the punk overtones have always been there, “Among The Ghosts” is a statement, that despite what changes in their lives, how they grow, those boys from Memphis with all them tattoos, still have plenty of darkness to mine from. 


Among the Ghosts is available tomorrow everywhere.

Step Brothers Country Reaction Gifs

*some foul language*

When a coworker you thought was a jerk says he's into Tyler Childers and Whitey Morgan

When somebody's Brantley Gilbert ringtone goes off

When the room smells like Kane Brown fan

New Amanda Shires & Lucero albums Friday??

When you have a flashback to your mom taking you to a Rascal Flatts concert when you were little

When somebody's in your face saying Cody Jinks sucks

Brad Rice, probably...

Some dude from Billboard said "Meant to Be" is a country song

May 24, 2018

No Sleep Roundup: Tyler Childers, At the Gates, Lucero, Charley Crockett

by Robert Dean

As life guru, Marc Maron would say it, what the fuck is up, what the fucksters, what the fuckingingtons? 

Over here in unemployed, freelancing writer-land, I’m grinding away, trying to listen to a lot of music, and trying to skim through the trash to give you the hotness that you didn’t know that you needed in your life. 

Without further pomp and circumstance, let’s pull the dog cone off and get licking ourselves. 

Tyler Childers w/Sturgill Simpson at The Ryman
A round of applause for our boy Tyler Childers for his recent debut at The Grand Ol’ Opry, playing with John Prine, opening for Margo Price's sold out run at The Ryman, and overall killing it. We’re beyond proud of him.

Joe Cardomone, the brains behind The Icarus Line has gone solo and is doing some rad, synthy dream-like stuff that feels like it’s a cross between Depeche Mode on the happy pills and what Marilyn Manson thinks he’s been doing for the last decade. 

Holy War is an odd collection of songs that are straight IDGAF about what’s trending, popular or normal. Caromone is on his psychic plane with these tracks, and that’s good news if you’re looking to get weird in the dark over some candle wax and a bottle of Rose. Check it out, but don’t get all huffy with us if you end up wearing a gimp mask, though. That’s your freaky fault. 

CW Stoneking is touring the states again. This time around he’s going solo and not with the full band, it’s likely because last time America dropped the ball and didn’t give this dude the reception he deserved. 

I was lucky enough to see him play at Stubb’s here in Austin to maybe 100 people and let me tell you, that was an excellent night. If you’ve got any common sense, you’ll head over to whatever town is closest and grab a ticket. The fact that CW Stoneking isn’t a household name in blues circles is a damn shame. 

At The Gates released a new record, To Drink From The Night Itself and boy, does it slam. Typically, when a band tries to come back after a classic album, they stumble. It’s a momentous task to follow up something as perfect as Slaughter of The Soul, so when At War With Reality dropped it was just…ok. 

On To Drink From The Night Itself, the band found it’s anger; it’s artistry again. There’s no magical reinvention of the band’s style and sound, this is meat and potatoes At The Gates, but it’s a collection of tracks that rip the hinges off the Camaro. 100% worth the listen. 

Fat dudes with beards who like to wear flannel are stoked as fuck: Clutch has a new record looming, which is cool. The world needs more tunes about blacking out on the road and writing a rock and roll song about it. 

From the groundswell of insiders, I keep hearing this new Lucero record is their best one ever. That’s a TALL order considering there’s a mighty fine batch of songs in the back catalog, specifically one named Tennessee. I’ve yet to hear it for myself, but multiple sources near the Memphis Monsters relay the same story. 

This isn’t new information, but can we all agree that the new Perfect Circle cover is probably the worst record cover of all time? I mean, come on. You rockstar folk ain't on the struggle; you're millionaires. Spring for someone to at least try. 

Brandan Schieppati of recently reformed Bleeding Through fame talks mad spicy on the new metal and hardcore bands of today, especially Bring Me The Horizon: here.

Lastly, go buy Charley Crockett everything. His recent record, Lonesome As A Shadow is a sleeper album of the year. Seriously. It’s a mixture of Louisiana and Texas that works without coming off contrived. There’s a unique blend of busker timing, but also captures the feeling of what it’s like to sing for your supper. The record features a potent mixture of old school 50’s RnB, blues, and classic country. Don’t sleep on this one. He’s on like, every music platform, ever is touring eternally. Grab Charley Crockett’s record, you’ll thank us. We promise.

Wait. Serious question: 

I loved the first Leon Bridges record. I don’t like the new one at all. Where are you with Good Thing? Tweet me and let me know what you think. I need to know what I’m missing.

That’s all from me, 

Keep it greasy. 

May 14, 2018

The No Sleep Roundup w/Lucero, Leon III, Vein, Joe Rogan

by Robert Dean

So, this week in insomnia I’ve listened to a bunch of music, read a few books and even watched the episode of Anthony Bourdain in Montana. He hangs out with Jim Harrison before he died, what an honor. Joe Rogan was there too, but they did Joe Rogan stuff and just shot some birds. 

Anyhow, I’m averaging about 3-4 hours of sleep a night right now since I’m writing freelance full time. You’d think around 4 AM I’d pass right out, but nope. Pop a Benadryl and go hunting for new stuff, waiting for the little pink monster to kick in. 

Enough about me, let’s get into this week’s hotness: 

Because I’m a douche, I didn’t mention them sooner, but The Profane Anything Band is a local Austin outfit playing some sweet rock and roll that’s not flashy, nor over the top, but straight ahead. There’s something to be said for a band that plugs in and gets rowdy. Give them a listen they gig all over town. For fans of Guided By Voices, Yo La Tengo, Brainiac. 

America’s secret crush Cardi B was on the Stern show and continued to show why she’s good for the music industry with her refusal to be a mindless robot. Hate her music all you like; it’s appreciated when an artist puts everything on front street and understands her place in pop culture.  

Leon III has a new video out. It’s appropriately weird in that Joe Walsh, “too many Coors with a guy you’re just trying to buy mushrooms off of” kinda way. I appreciate bands who go for it and don’t give a shit what their peers are doing. Quiet Hollers are those kinds of dudes. Give it a look and listen to their new record, Alberta. 

While you’re at it download everything from Leon III and Quiet Hollers

Vein dropped the new video for Virus//Vibrance, and I’m so stoked on it. This is so much of my jam; it’s like this song + video was crafted out of the old school hardcore videos from 20 years ago that I frequently search for. I have high hopes for Vein. If this is any indication of what they’re capable of, please take all of my money. This is chaotic, fast, and heavy as a ton of bricks. 

Everyone on Earth saw the Childish Gambino video, so I don’t have to link it. It’s been watched 70M times in 7 days.  Sidebar: I seriously had NO idea Childish Gambino was big enough to headline a night at ACL. I have a mad love for Awaken, My Love! But, damn. Donald Glover is killing it right now. 

Joe Rogan roasts Takashi 69 and the other kids of the internet here.  This one is just good for the soul. 

Lastly, Lucero dropped two new songs, and there’s a lot to unpack here folks. 

First, if you look at the new band photo, Ben looks like he’s straight from America’s Next Top Model. Brian has now assumed the role of mystical Memphis shaman, which is fitting if you follow him on social media. Thankfully, Roy is still wearing the signature bike hat. 

The cover of the new record Among the Ghosts is sick. That’s some straight Southern Gothic right there. 

I like that Ben has made it a point to call out that folks thought the new stuff would suck because he’s happily married and now has a kid. I can’t say I’m not guilty of thinking that, too. 

As for the music, I couldn’t be happier. As a die-hard Lucero fan, (I have an L star tattoo) this is the record we’ve been waiting a few years for. This feels more like a gritty more swinging version of Tennessee, That Much Further West, Overton Park records, which are arguably the fan’s favorites. 

That’s it. Keep it saucy. 

Apr 12, 2018

The No Sleep Round-up w/Lucero, Western Centuries, and ...Cardi B?

by Robert Dean

Well, howdy folks. I had one of them weeks last week that would test a lesser man’s mettle and sent them spiraling down the road toward their local dive without so much as a breath of fresh air. I ain’t gonna say I didn’t need a night to get loaded up on the Lone Star beers and some kush that’ll blow the doors off, but I’m back in fighting shape after a few kicks in the teeth. 

I’m gonna write some longer stuff for the site, so if you’re waiting on anything long form from me, it’s gonna happen soon. 

This brings us back to the rodeo and what’s popping off this week and last week: a combo of musical stuff that’s crossed my desk. 

Cardi B dropped a new record, “Invasion of Privacy” last week. I gotta say, for as much shit as she gets, I like her. We’re beaten over the head with manufactured idiots that have nothing to say, and for once we’ve got someone in popular culture that’s being honest about her experience and what she expects of the world in return. 

Sure, you don’t have to enjoy the music, but when we’re overloaded with constant trash, I can respect someone’s nerve to tell the story of being a stripper, what men in the business expect of her, along with building a career with no one’s help. As someone’s who’s never been handed a damn thing, career-wise if you make it without daddy’s money or a cousin in “the business” props to her. 

Read the new GQ interview with her. You’ll come out of it not hating her, I promise.  Also, reading the bit about how she got a fake ass is fascinating. 

Side note related to Cardi B – I’ve recently discovered Migos Stir Fry and I love the beat. Not a new cut by any means, but for someone who doesn’t dig Trap, I like that one. Takashi 69 is still straight garbage, tho. But this Gary Owen takedown is straight up amazing. 

Back to country stuff, Western Centuries has recently dropped Songs From The Deluge, and it’s pretty damn solid. If you’re looking for a good honky tonk record that feels a little Dale Watson meets Dwight Yoakam, Western Centuries play in that cerebral ballpark. The vocals even offer a little John Popper vibe, but without the wailing harmonica theatrics. 

Sometimes, when bands try to pull off that joint beer funk, most of the time, they screw it way, way up. Western Centuries doesn’t do that whatsoever; in fact, they sell it with precision and flair. Upon first listen, I was flabbergasted the band was from Seattle and not my backyard of Austin. Give these dudes a listen ASAP. You won’t be disappointed. 

In news that warms my heart, Lucero was recently awarded the honor of Lucero Day in Memphis. How dope is that? Resident good dudes getting rewarded for being a great band full of humans that deserve the world. Nothing but respect. 

Once again, don’t forget to donate to Caleb from Cave In’s YouCaring. It’s still such a bummer he’s gone. 

Avenged Sevenfold read mean tweets about themselves. Just like their music, it was uninteresting and pedestrian. Watch it here.

That’s about it from down here in the great state of Texas. Be back next week to talk about whatever crosses my desk or invades my inbox. If you’re in a band, go to my Facebook page and drop a link. 

If it’s in my sonic wheelhouse I’ll either review it or mention it here. Depends on how dope it is. All genres will be considered. Stay frosty. 

Dec 8, 2017

10 Artists Who Better Release New Music in 2018 or Else

1. Chris Knight
Well yeah. Chris tours like crazy, but there have been no new tunes from his camp since 2012's Little Victories
5 years is way too long a meantime to wait for songs from one of the best modern troubadours on the planet. 
The writer of favorites like "Down the River" and "Enough Rope" has found his writing pen a little low on ink in recent years, according to statements to Juli Thanki a year or so ago
Here's hoping the muse has been a little more giving recently. 

2. Lucero
Since trimming the horn section from their road show, the alt-country favorites have gone quiet… at least on the recorded music front. They're still touring, though a bit less than their road warrior days. I heard they were in the studio early last year, but whatever they cut is still in the can. Hopefully, with their 20th year in existence
 coming in 2018, they'll grace us with another classic. It looks like their tour dates pick up a 
good deal in February, so maybe that's a good sign.

3. Kathleen Edwards
Kathleen, whose debut album Failer, is one of my favorite alt-country albums ever, last released a full album with 2012's Voyageur. In the years since, she's taken a sabbatical from music to run a cupcake shop or something or other, but she's played some shows this year. Anyway, I'm not sure what's up, but I want her back. She's a witty, passionate writer with an unmistakable voice. She's also adept at music with a purpose - songs with political and social messages that tear at the seams of injustice without yelling at anybody. Perfect for 2018, huh?

4. Dirty River Boys
Just about the time I discovered these guys for myself, they ceased putting music out there for me to hear. What gives? Their sound bizarrely combines Americana, punk, red dirt, and skate rock and somehow works perfectly. 2014's self-titled record is the last we heard from them. C'mon back fellas. 

5. Adam Faucett
Adam landed in our top 5 with his last release, Blind Water Finds Blind Water. The keening Arkansas songwriter has toured, but there hasn't been a peep from the studio since 2014. The dark songs and that clear, haunting croon with the even more haunting falsetto are needed right now in my ears. I'll throw in on a Kickstarter.

6. Kelsey Waldon
Yeah, it was just 2016 when Kelsey last graced us with her songs, but what can I say? I'm greedy. Oh, and she should keep her name out there. There's a growing swell of awesome female country artists and songwriters and I just know the success of folks like Kelsey, Caroline Spence, Lillie Mae and others is inspiring a whole new generation of women to take up the guitar and tell us their stories. The more the merrier.

7. The Gaslight Anthem
Nothing since 2014's Get Hurt. Lead singer Brian Fallon has been doing the solo thing and it's fine and all, but I want the band back together, pumping out sad Springsteen-esque rock for my listening enjoyment in 2018.

8. Jack White
He's a busy man, running a record label, producing stuff, pulling recording stunts, and playing with other artists, but it's time man. Lazaretto in 2014 was the last release of a 'proper' Jack White album. If 2018 is Jack-White-album-free, he'll be sorry… when I complain a bunch about it online.

9. Ghost
I don't know why I love this ridiculous costumed occult bunch so much, but I do. It hasn't been all that long since they put out new music, but now that I'm hooked, I need it with swiftness. Though categorized as metal, their 70s style rock is more akin to Queen (in theatricality, not sound) than Slayer. It's absurd, tuneful, surprisingly accessible given the subject matter, and highly addictive. They almost broke through (as much as a rock act can nowadays) to the mainstream with their hit "Square Hammer" last year, so it's time to strike while the iron is hot.

10. High on Fire
Give me my sludge metal now! I just read that they are writing a new album right now, so perhaps I should give this slot to another artist, but no. Hurry up with it, guys. I need my fix of down-tuned guitars and strangely melodic screaming right away.

Honorable Mentions: Northcote, Pistol Annies, Run the Jewels, 
Baroness, Julie Roberts, Danny Brown, Car Seat Headrest.

Cody Jinks is in the studio now, so don't say he's missing from this list...

*or else nothing

Oct 9, 2017

Dream Covers Volume I: Songs We Wanna Hear Get Covered ASAP

by Robert Dean

I think about cover tunes a lot. When a band decides to do a cover on a compilation record or add it to their live show, there’s a lot at stake. Is the band going to do the song straight up? Are they going to take some artistic liberties? Is the song the right choice for the band? There’s a lot to consider when playing someone else’s tune.

What got me thinking about this list was imagining if some of my favorite artists covered songs that in my head worked in concert with their existing sound and style. Cuz, let’s face it; there’s many times when a band picks a cover tune, and it’s complete trash. I’m constantly wondering what a band would sound like if they just tried this song, this one jam. 

Maybe I’m nuts, but here are my top songs I think artists should be covering right now:

Don’t Mess Around With Jim – Jim Croce, as covered by JD McPherson
There’s a familiar cadence of the groove between this tune and what JD continually pumps out. The breezy verses seem almost too perfect for McPherson’s solid rock and roll swagger. With the head bobbing tempo and slick feel, there’s so much soul and pure filth underneath this song, that JD McPherson could pull it out in spades. Plus, there’s a third verse riff where it’s just vocals and a super in the pocket drum beat that JD would be all over with that big, bright voice.

Remedy – The Black Crowes, as covered by Every Time I Die
Remedy is one of The Black Crowes sleaziest, blues-soaked tunes. There’s a sense of inherent vice and slick danger to this song. It’s full, breathy and is so slinky and over the top. Every Time I Die have recently been more of a metal band with a few mutated classic rock riffs thrown in, but should they ever wanna flex those muscles they were in the Hot Damn! Era, Remedy would be a great vocal fit, but also be a solid sing-along tune in respect to the chaos of their live shows. Because Every Time I Die have the musical chops to pull off a song like this, I feel like their ownership would be astounding.

Breathe – Pink Floyd, as covered by Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit
Now, this one might sound weird, but hear me out. Jason Isbell’s guitar playing is silky smooth. The backbone to Pink Floyd’s signature era was David Gilmour’s Stratocaster taking humans to new planets. Isbell is a songwriter, but he’s got some chops, too. Plus, The 400 Unit are quite the band, musically speaking. Coupled with Isbell’s ability to pour himself out and bring out those inner demons, he could harness something akin to the sounds of Dark Side Pink Floyd. When you think about it, it doesn’t seem so far-fetched. If you need further proof, listen to Isbell’s biggest bummer ever, When We Were Vampires – if you don’t hear lament and slow, steady blues, something is off with your ears.

Refugee – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, as covered by Lucero
Lucero has a back catalog of a million songs. Most of which, Ben Nichols can draw up from the well in an instant mentally. But, one in a while, Lucero will break out their cover of Jawbreaker’s Kiss The Bottle. But, as the band gets older and establishes a much more weighted in purist rock and roll sound, Refugee is a tune that fits Nichols swagger, but also works with how the band works as a cohesive unit. That wide open riff matched with the song’s signature call and response works well considering Lucero’s On My Way Downtown isn’t too far off style-wise.

They did cover "American Girl" already: ~Trailer

Magic Man – Heart, as covered by Nikki Lane
There’s something low-key magical about Nikki Lane. She is sultry without putting it on front street. She could deliver on Ann Wilson’s vocal runs. Songs like Highway Queen aren’t too thematically different than the Heart catalog. This one feels like a natural fit.

Mannish Boy – Muddy Waters, as covered by Chris Stapleton
Another odd choice, but it works when you think about it. Chris Stapleton has a gigantic, powerful voice. What’s the most memorable thing about Mannish Boy? It’s the riff and Muddy’s ownership of the room, challenging all comers to step to his vocal prowess. Stapleton could master that song as long as he kept it true to it’s roots and go country.

Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker) – The Rolling Stones, as covered by Jack White
If there’s anyone who can handle the instrumentation concerning the original sound and spirit, it’s Jack White. He’s already jammed Loving Cup with The Stones, so seeing him tackle one of their lesser known, but die-hard fan hit songs would be a perfect match. He’s got the gear, the ability to play all of Keith Richards riffs and he’s a complete purist who’d relish trying to offer that same fierce spirit that the original Goats Head Soup warrants.

I Never Loved a Man That Way That I Loved You – Aretha Franklin, as covered by Lady Gaga
Look, Lady Gaga is one of the three best singers in pop music. That’s not even up for debate.  It’s her, Beyonce and Adele. Yes, I’m aware there are other badass singers with a serious set of pipes. But, I’d like to see anyone else take the Pepsi Challenge on nailing such a soulful icon track. (If there’s someone you think could wreck shop on this one, shout it out: @Robert_Dean, I wanna know.)
Anyhow, one of the best songs of all time. I’d love to see a killer vocalist take the track on and show off their skills.

I’m Your Captain/Closer to Home – Grand Funk Railroad, as covered by Margo Price
Here’s the wild card. Margo Price is a beast. She’s so talented it’s unreal. If there was anyone who could destroy the all-time jam, it’s Margo Price. Her band is insane and just so tight. When she did those Prairie Home Companion with Jack White we saw a layered, classic Margo Price that could straight murder harmonies and let’s face it. She would wreck shop on this tune. Someone send her people an email. This one would be dope.

Agree or disagree, tweet us or leave a comment. What are your dream covers? We want to know. 

Aug 26, 2016

Andy Griffith Show Country Reaction Gifs

When your neighbor won't stop playing 
Cole Swindell at a high volume

Hey Barney, can you do your hair like Chase Bryant's?

Waking up the morning after a Lucero concert like...

Dan + Shay is your guilty pleasure? 
I wouldn't have told that.

Overhearing your girl say she just pretends 
to like Cody Jinks because you do

When some old fart says they don't 
make good country music anymore

When you shouldn't have tried 
the 'shrooms at the bluegrass festival

May 4, 2016

Donald Trump Knows Country Music 2

Here are some great quotes* from future Republican nominee for President, Donald Trump.

*that aren't real, but pretend they are

Apr 26, 2016

Lucero & St. Paul & The Broken Bones Rock Memphis

Just some random thoughts and sights from the Lucero Block Party 2016.
by Trailer 

Minglewood Hall (outside), Midtown Memphis TN, April 23, 2016

Young Valley
Mississippi boys, Young Valley opened the show as we were coming into the venue. They're cool. Country music with ample rock energy and weird fun thrown in. They started the "better live than on album" theme of the day… but I guess that's how 90% of 'our' acts are. Young Valley was exuberant to be there and it showed. They played their short stint with energy and joy. I've heard them do a better set, but it was damn good stuff. They're a band to watch in coming years.

• Ben Nichols of Lucero stood directly in front of the stage watching Young Valley for a while, until he was unable to do so because of folks asking for pictures and autographs. I'm a huge fan, but I've met him before and he was enjoying the show, so I didn't bother him.

• Paul Janeway of St. Paul and the Broken Bones was also in the  crowd, but he was more hanging out than watching. He looked completely different in street clothes, to the point that my friend and I were debating whether it was him or not. It was.

Mark Edgar Stuart was next on the lineup. I haven't heard him nearly as much as I've heard the rest of the acts, but he was damn good, funny, and engaging. He seems to me something of a mix of folk music + Willie Nelson (vocally) + Randy Newman. Mark sang his new single "Don't Blame Jesus," which was timely and HILARIOUS, and got the crowd into high spirits.

• Pabst was the beer sponsor of the event. You could go inside and get whatever drinks and craft beers you wanted, but once you get settled in for some good music, you just want what's nearby, so it was PBR and Old Tankard (their uh, craftier beer) the rest of the evening.

• The edgy shirt vendors and the BMX team riding at the back of the event brought in some of the vibe of Lucero's more punk-esque early days, but generally this was a regular Joe kinda crowd. Lots of families and lots of diversity. Hardly any hipsters though.

Cory Branan played the next slot. It was just him and his guitar, but he was magnetic.
He played mostly his more well known up-tempo tunes. He's a born entertainer, but not in the way of showmanship. He just knows how to get the crowd in the palm of his hand by being real and open. Guy should be a lot bigger than he is.

• There were food trucks to keep us fed. The famous Central BBQ, which I've never actually had the pleasure of eating, had a truck, but I figure I'm gonna have the real deal in the original location when I finally take the dive. I went with a Cuban sandwich from the Food Geek truck and it was divine.

The crowd loaded in for St. Paul and the Broken Bones. Not to say I wasn't there for Lucero, but I was a little more excited to finally see these guys. They did not disappoint, to understate things a bit. The band was just (insert fire emoji). They're tight as hell but loose in the groove - and not in a robotic 'white dudes approximating the swing of soul music' kind of way - naw, they're the real damn deal. Paul sang his ass off - I've never seen a video of him half-assing it. It's a wonder he manages to still be a …um, larger gentleman. He probably won't be for long, because he just lays it all out there, sweating like a roofer and hollering like a Pentecostal preacher.

They played a bunch of songs from Half the City, a vein-popping cover of "I Want You (She's So Heavy)," and…and…. they announced that the new album is DONE, and played 3 songs from it. One of them had the crowd swooning and shouting and raising hands skyward. Nobody knew a word of it, I couldn't even discern a title, but it was indescribably bad ass. What a show.

This band, when it finally gets a Grammy nod and some air time in front of a few million eyes and ears, will be huge. Not if, just when. It's going to happen. They may not be bringing much new to the table genre-wise, but they just live inside of soul music. Their songs are killer and well-written, but the experience is the thing. It's church.

•The weather was perfect. Late April is when all festivals in the south should be scheduled, even though that's not possible. It was sunny, 80, and breezy, then cooling down and breezy. Wonderful.

The main event was up next. Lucero took the stage with no horn section. I haven't seen them play without horns since 2012 or thereabout. It was a rock show.

Ben and the boys played all the hits and the crowd sang along with hands in the air. Memphis being the band's home base, this makes sense, but I've never seen so many Lucero tattoos. One was on a guy's head. That's the kind of dedication this band inspires.

We got all the favorites like "Tears Don't Matter Much," "Tonight Ain't Gonna Be Good," and "My Best Girl." We also got a good mix of Lucero's newer tunes like "Texas and Tennessee" and "Woke Up in New Orleans." On the albums, these more polished songs sound a lot different from the band's earlier punk-edged persona, but live, they fit right into the flow, the ragged vocals and gritty musicianship blending everything into a pure rock n' roll feast.

• People kept passing Ben Nichols drinks. Not water, not beer, not even mixed drinks. Nothing so refreshing for the dude singing his heart out in the warm air. Nope - pure Jack, full cups. He was fine with it.

If you've never seen Lucero live and they come within driving distance, go. I don't care if you're not particularly a fan. The show is where they make the thing work. They'll never be the best songwriters, the best singers, or the best players (aside from Rick Steff), but there's something about the mix of these southern boys, a warm night, and some cold beverages that can turn a passing interest into a lifetime love affair.

Ben played this oldie, "Outsiders," from his previous (previous as in 19 years ago) band Red 40.


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