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Lucero - 1372 Overton Park CD Cover Art

Lucero - 1372 Overton Park CD

Personnel: Ben Nichols (vocals, guitar); Brian Venable (guitar); Ernie Ball (strings); Rick Steff (accordion, piano, Farfisa); Marc Franklin (trumpet, flugelhorn, trombone); Roy Berry (drums, percussion); Reba Russell, Kelley Hurt (background vocals).
Audio Mixers: Ryan Mall; Ted Hutt.
1372 OVERTON PARK might be Lucero's major-label debut, but the Memphis-based band retains all of their rough-and-tumble indie charms. Gruff-voiced frontman Ben Nichols still sings about people with dead-end lives: the type of characters whose "heroes are the losing kind." But Nichols definitely finds ways to make these troubled souls compelling. As if it hasn't been evident on earlier efforts, this disc demonstrates how Lucero, along with bands like the Hold Steady and Marah, blend together Replacements raucousness and Springsteen streetwise storytelling, and create something both familiar yet also unique. Throughout the album, Nichols spins colorful tales of lost youths ("The Devil and Maggie Chascarillo") and downtown desperadoes ("Johnny Davis") that are vividly detailed. He is also very capable at dialing down the mischievous misadventures and expressing some truly honest emotions. The album's second half is highlighted by these quieter numbers. The bittersweet love song "Goodbye Again" ranks up there with the work of Warren Zevon, as Nichols essays a tumultuous relationship where the man isn't strong enough to cut ties with a girl whom he knows isn't good for him. "Darken My Door" and "Hey Darlin' Do You Gamble" are two twangy tunes that again pick up Nichols' less-than-sunny view of love and relationships. Nichols' ability to bring a realness to the characters in his wild, rocking story-songs, as well as his lower-key, more intimate tunes, goes a long way in making these songs connect with the listener. With its captivating set of beer-stained rockers and heartfelt ballads, 1372 OVERTON PARK offers a triumphant example of gritty, sweaty, all-American music.

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