Lucero / William Elliott Whitmore

Although a punkish mix of rock 'n' roll and country has long been Lucero's hallmark, the band has finally fully embraced its Memphis roots. Like 2009's 1372 Overton Park, new album Women & Work is marbled with potent Memphis elements: bristling horns from Jim Spake and Scott Thompson, Rick Steff's roiling organ, classic soul, North Mississippi blues, southern fried pop, and even a gospel choir on the billowy finale, "Go Easy." Just before that is the lusty honky-tonk rocker "Like Lightning," while "Juniper" sounds like a Skynyrd session at Stax, and "On My Way Downtown" suggests a country soul summit attended by the Stones and Springsteen. Raspy voiced frontman Ben Nichols, meanwhile, continues to write sharp tales of opportunities lost, found, and astray, ricocheting between rowdiness and poignancy. Opening will be Iowa folk-blues troubadour William Elliott Whitmore, whose creaky, harrowing voice and sparse acoustic picking on guitar and banjo lament current (especially rural) hard times ("like a tree by the river I'm hangin' on") while holding out hope for a miracle. 18+.
Wed., April 4, 8 p.m., 2012

 
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