lucero – women & work

this album sounds to me like honky tonk. i would not have even heard of lucero if i didn’t get to know john king. it’s a kind of music that is nowhere near this place… even more so than anything else in the collection. don’t get me wrong, i was still able to mostly connect to it. but ben nichols’ voice is so strongly accented that images of very far away locations are brought to mind with probably an unfair share of stereotyped inflections.

this is the only actual album of theirs that i have, given all other pieces of their music sit on john’s mixtapes from the international cd swap. this happens to be their latest work. from what i know of their other music, this is significantly more upbeat, for want of a better concept. it swaggers and entertains. some of their other music is genuinely melancholy and heart/gut wrenching. occasionally it seemed to verge on a cliché, but never quite tipped over the edge.

this video probably contradicts that conclusion, however! all-american something-or-other…

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3 responses to “lucero – women & work

  1. ha ha, everything american costs more here, even it was made closer to australia than the US!

    also, amongst all the equipment during the electronic ‘phase’ in that vid/doco, did i see an original nintendo system?!

    i have always loved that this music means so much to you, and what you shared with us through the cd swap was definitively that ‘harder’ end of their output and appeal (and by harder i mean tough life, not heavy metal). we don’t really have anything locationally similar to bands or genres like lucero in australia – the closest we come is real country music (given that the majority of the continent is actually rural). and to that, i am indifferent.

    for me, those bands that mean something to where i’m from and what i experienced when i was younger are more in the rock field without such easily identified identity, if that makes sense.

  2. There is an short doco on Women & Work (http://youtu.be/ZeR7zvzfeeI) that interestingly enough catches some of your thoughts/concerns. starting off with their love of Australia (besides the price for a Diet Coke)! As well some comments by the eccentric bassist John Stubblefield about possibly pairing back to the beginning sounds.
    the video is a little over the top, but I can see what they were going for. the Van symbolizes work for a traveling band. and booze and ladies is, well, what they do best . it does kinda envelope summertime in the south tho; so far it’s what I have done this summer: watch my friends get drunk and jump into ponds. and everyone i recognized in the vid was either a Louisville or Memphis representative.
    I do fully endorse the jumping in with jeans & boots; as that is what i wear every damn day of the year. no matter what. someone said to me once “around here rock N’ roll means it’s always Autumn wear from the waist down.”

  3. I have often wondered and discussed the thought that much of Lucero’s appeal is it’s representation of a very specific and limited demographic; Southern city life. For many years their core fan base was concentrated in places like Memphis, Tennessee and Louisville, Kentucky. I am in this demographic and have enjoyed Lucero since the beginning. But over the last 15 years I have watched Lucero’s fan base grow which puts this idea into question.
    The early work of Lucero definitely paid homage to gut wrenching heart ache, which anyone in any location can relate too. It also pulled heavily from southern life and punk traditions.
    Many of their albums carry an underlying musical genre; Attic Tapes having a traditional Country/folk feel, That Much Further West and Rebels, Rogues and Sworn Brothers carrying a west coast punk feel, and 1372 Overton Park channeling a 1970’s Memphis feel. Women & Work is decidedly Honky Tonk, and isn’t my favorite of their sound variations, but if their history (and the sound of their new Texas & Tennessee EP) are any indication, they will soon move on to a new subtext sound.
    What is more worrisome for me is the change in lyrics. Their devastating takes on out and out heartbreak and emotional and alcohol dependence is what drew me to Lucero in the first place. It seems these days the lyrics are more about parading their bar hoping and lady slaying skills. Again, Texas & Tennessee may show a welcome change in this too.
    Whatever my reservations on Women & Work, the appeal of Lucero outweighs any bumps in the road. Even now after 15 years, and nearly half that being sober, songs like “I’ll Just Fall” “It Gets The Worst At Night” and “Crystal Blue” (and even “It May Be Too late”) still get me, big time.

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