Is Ben Nichols the Next Bruce Springsteen?

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After weathering nearly a decade of comparisons to Replacements frontman Paul Westerberg, Lucero vocalist/guitarist Ben Nichols has been tapped as the heir apparent to the Boss in this recent A.V. Club feature.

From A.V. Clubber Jason Albert:

When Ben Nichols growls about bolting into the streets hoping to get out alive, my mental transformation from couch-jockeying hermit to asphalt-chewing hardass is no less complete than when I blast "Born To Run" in my, um, Jetta. That said, for as much as Nichols' anthems like "Smoke" and "The Last Song" get my fists pumping, it's his introspective moments that most recall the heartbreaking gut-punch of my favorite Springsteen record, Nebraska. And for a non-musical cosmetic point, Nichols looks how I wish I looked in a jean jacket: tough enough to not give a fuck what anybody thinks about his jean jacket.

Lucero's brand-new video further channels the imagery of Springsteen's circa-1982 portrait of working class America.

Both Nichols and Springsteen have a propensity for bandanas and plaid shirts. 1372 Overton Park, Lucero's latest release, features the best rock horn section heard since the Boss' collaboration with Clarence Clemons on The WIld, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle.

And last time I talked to Nichols — for the December issue of Relix magazine — he discussed the distance he's put between himself and his former musical hero, the aforementioned Westerberg:

“You don’t want to puke onstage, get hammered and fall over and play half-songs. Although I’m sure there will be nights when everything goes awry, right now it’s so much fun playing the music.”

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