If it weren’t for songwriter Ben Nichols and Memphis-based Lucero, we may not be experiencing the Renaissance of songwriting we’re seeing breaking out across stages coast to coast from country and Americana artists, and carried to the rafters by songwriters such as Jason Isbell. Some of today’s big-named songwriters may be currently touching the edges of the mainstream, but Lucero was the prototype—one of the first to breed earnestness with the Southern experience in songs for the modern era.
Now celebrating 20 years hacking away at blending country, punk, soul, blues, and R&B smothered in Memphis gravy, the band is readying the release of their latest studio album, Among The Ghosts on August 3rd via Thirty Tigers. Co-produced and engineered by Grammy Award winner Matt Ross-Spang known for his work with Jason Isbell and the Drive-By Truckers, it features 9 new songs and a re-recording written by Ben Nichols, and was recorded at Sam Phillips Recording Service in Memphis.
This is the first record from Lucero since Ben Nichols got married and had a now 2-year-old daughter, Izzy. Among The Ghosts is said to have a distinct Southern flavor, but with the edge Lucero is known for.
“I think we’ve tried to remake this place that we love and cherish in our own fashion,” says Nichols. “We are very proud of where we are from and we’ve spent the last 20 years trying to bring a bit of our version of home to the rest of the world… It may have taken 20 years, but everything has fallen in place right where it needs to be. There were some dark days in those middle years, but we’ve learned how to do this and survive. We still write heartbreak songs, but now, with a family at home, it’s a whole new kind of heartbreak.”
Among The Ghosts was recorded mostly live as a five piece, with the principle lineup of Lucero at the moment consisting of founding members Ben Nichols and guitarist Brian Venable, with Roy Berry on drums, John C. Stubblefield on bass, and Rick Steff on keyboards.
Lucero has released a dozen or so albums since 2000, getting their big shot on a major label back in 2009 when they signed with Universal Republic, and later recording multiple releases for ATO Records. They’ve hit the road as hard as anybody over the last 20 years, and have garnered a loyal fan base of not just listeners, but fellow artists, making them one of the most influential bands out there.
Among The Ghosts includes the lead single “For The Lonely Ones” you can hear below, and a re-recording of “Loving,” previously-recorded by Ben Nichols for the movie Loving done by Ben’s brother, Jeff Nichols.
Unofficial Track List appears to be:
- “Among the Ghosts”
- “Bottom of the Sea”
- “Everything Has Changed”
- “Always Been You”
- “Cover Me”
- “To My Dearest Wife”
- “Long Way Back Home”
- “For The Lonely Ones”
- “Back to the Night”
- “Loving” (re-recorded w/ full band)