Lucero’s current album, Women & Work on ATO Records, has received high critical praise. The New York Times called the band “one of the most dependable names in modern alt-country” while Billboard deemed it “Lucero’s tightest, most focused album yet.” Rolling Stone cited the disc’s range from “aching Memphis soul to rowdy, old-fashioned barroom boogie rock,” and The New Yorker raved, “Polished, soulful . . . the band delivers a rollicking collection.”
But before they can devour all the accolades, Lucero will embark on a summer tour carrying them to all corners of America. Summer dates commence June 20 in Carrboro, NC, and the band will wend its way east, through the Heartland, out through the Rockies, out west for Hootenanny, and back through the Southeast and Midwest.
Lucero will also work with director Jonathan Pekar, head of the film department at Memphis’ legendary Ardent Studios, on their first music video. In the clip, the band is partying with friends on the banks of a beautiful lake. All hell breaks loose when the band finds their van is missing. But instead of being furious, they get into the party spirit and much fun-loving destruction ensues.
According to Pekar, “It is more than exciting to be directing Lucero's first music video. We’re having none of that lip-synching silliness. No, this is more of a rite-of-passage kind of scenario. The band is gonna party with their friends while we all destroy their old touring van. A great American pastime like needless destruction and deviant behavior goes along fantastically with the Lucero vibe. I can't wait!”
Women & Work, the band’s eighth album, is a love letter to their hometown of Memphis. “Having a band in Memphis puts you through a tradition,” says frontman Ben Nichols. The band immersed itself in Memphis’ long skew of musical traditions: Sun, Stax, Elvis and Al Green, Jim Dickinson and Alex Chilton.
Integrating horns, pedal steel guitar, all manner of keyboards, and even a full-on gospel chorus, Women & Work is a fully realized musical extravaganza. Drawing inspiration from Delaney & Bonnie’s obscure first album, Home, on the Stax label, Lucero’s ambivalence about tradition has been replaced by an exuberant embrace. Women & Work is like Arcade Fire baptized in Joe Cocker and Leon Russell’s Mad Dogs & Englishmen, then warmed with Don Nix’s Alabama State Troupers.
The band remains a solid unit, even as it changes. Lucero began broadening its sound in 2005 when they brought in Rick Steff — man of the keys (piano, organ, and accordion). In 2007, they expanded again with the addition of pedal steel whiz Todd Beene, and then again more recently with Memphis’s funkiest horn section — Jim Spake and Scott Thompson (Al Green, Cat Power).
LUCERO SUMMER TOUR DATES
Wed., June 20 CARRBORO, NC Cat’s Cradle
Thurs., June 21 WILMINGTON, NC The Soapbox Laundro-Lounge
Fri., June 22 BALTIMORE, MD Ram’s Head Live
Sat., June 23 ATLANTIC CITY, NJ Orion Music & More (curated by Metallica)
Sun., June 24 PITTSBURGH, PA Mr. Smalls Theatre
Tues., June 26 HUNTINGTON, WV VClub
Wed., June 27 TOLEDO, OH Mickey Finn’s Pub
Thurs., June 28 BLOOMINGTON, IL The Castle Theater
Fri., June 29 ST. LOUIS, MO Plush
Sun., June 30 KANSAS CITY, MO Crossroads KC
Mon., July 2 OMAHA, NE The Waiting Room
Tues., July 3 BOULDER, CO Boulder Theater
Wed., July 4 BELLVUE, CO Mishawaka Amphitheatre
Thurs., July 5 TELLURIDE, CO Sheridan Opera House
Sat., July 7 SILVERADO, CA Hootenanny, featuring headliners Rancid and
the Rev. Horton Heat and many more.
Sun., July 8 PIONEERTOWN, CA Pappy & Harriet’s
Tues., July 10 LAS VEGAS, NV Beauty Bar
Fri., July 13 LOUISVILLE, KY Forecastle Festival
Fri., July 27 ASHEVILLE, NC Bele Chere Festival
Sat., July 28 LEXINGTON, KY Buster’s Billiards & Backroom
Sun., July 29 CHICAGO, IL Wicker Park Festival
Mon., July 30 DeKALB, IL Otto’s
Sat., Aug. 18 BEAVERTON, MI Stereoterra Music Festival