Lucero: On the Road, Up the Charts

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My cover story this week on Lucero, the long-running Memphis roots-rock band who launched their 8th album — Women & Work — and related tour last week at the annual South By Southwest Music Festival, is up on the site now.

If it isn't clear from the critical observations sprinkled in the profile, I think Women & Work is the band's best album yet. Having spent the past couple of weeks tracking back through the band's catalogue, Women & Work stands out for how well it captures the live sound of a band that has always excelled on stage and how fully they commit to a soulful, opulent Southern rock style that seemed a risky move a few years ago. With a virtuoso back line of Roy Berry (drums), John C. Stubblefield (bass), and Rick Steff (keys), this band now moves. There are other "Southern rock" bands I admire as much or more for their songs, vocals, or conceptual thrust — the Drive-By Truckers, the emerging Alabama Shakes — but those bands don't own the sound of the genre the way Lucero does right now.

And, happily, good things seem to be happening to such a good record. I'd heard hints in Austin last week that early sales were going really well, and, sure enough, Lucero's having their best debut on their first album after leaving a major label, with Women & Work debuting at #44 on the Billboard 200 album chart, # 8 among independent albums, and #7 on the "Tastemaker Albums" chart.

More on the band at their official site.

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