May 25, 2009

“Hey darlin’ …do you gamble?” :: Some new songs from Lucero

img_6951poster art by Denver’s JupiterVisual

Lucero brings their whiskey-soaked cowboy punk to Colorado this weekend, with shows in Aspen Thursday, at Denver’s Bluebird on Friday night and the Fox Theatre in Boulder on Saturday.

As I am wont to do, I’ve been trolling the internet in preparation for the show, seeing what Ben Nichols and Co have been up to since the 2006 release of Rebels, Rogues and Sworn Brothers (listen to “I Can Get Us Out Of Here Tonight” and sit back in bliss).

Lucero is currently prepping their major label debut, due out this summer with Universal Republic. I came across an acoustic solo version of a new song called, “Hey Darling, Do You Gamble” performed by Ben Nichols, as well as ten full-band Lucero songs from various shows over the last couple of years — all candidates to make it onto the new album. According to a friend who caught their recent San Francisco show at Slim’s, “you’ll hear more piano infused in the new stuff and, dare I say it, an upbeat attitude.”

But listen first to this new song, which tells a story that Nichols teased out of a line from the Townes Van Zandt movie, Be Here To Love Me. I like listening to the raspy-voiced Ben telling of the interview with Townes’ third wife, how she was won over when Townes walked up to her and simply asked, “Hey darlin’……do you gamble?”

For her, that was enough.

Hey Darling, Do You Gamble (solo acoustic) – Ben Nichols

“Oh and I believe that you should run with me, for a while…”

And here are ten other ones to consider:

Sounds Of The City – Lucero
Lonesome Dogtown Nights – Lucero
The Devil And Maggie Chascarillo – Lucero
Can’t Feel The Pain (Never Learned A Lesson) – Lucero
Sixes and Sevens – Lucero
Hey Darling, Do You Gamble (full band, live) – Lucero
Darken My Door – Lucero
Johnny Davis – Lucero
What Are You Willing To Lose – Lucero
Goodbye Again – Lucero

ZIP: New Lucero songs, live

Check Lucero out this weekend if you are here in Colorado, or on one of the other tour dates leading up to the summer release.

I hear Ben Nichols has also been playing some of his solo material from the Cormac-McCarthy-inspired album Last Pale Light Of The West. This is a very good thing.

May 26 – The Bourquet, Boise, ID *
May 27 – Urban Lounge, Salt Lake City, UT *
May 28 – The Belly up, Aspen, CO *
May 29 – The Bluebird Theater, Denver, CO *
May 30 – The Fox Theater, Boulder, CO *
Jun 2 – Waiting Room, Omaha, NE *
Jun 3 – Varsity Theater, Minneapolis, MN *
Jun 4 – The Picador, Iowa City, IA *
Jun 5 – The Tupelo Elvis Festival, Tupelo, MS
(well heck!)
Jun 6 – Wakarusa, Ozark, AR
Jun 12 – NJ Maxwells, Hoboken, NJ
Jun 13 – NY Big Apple BBQ Block Party, NYC
Jun 18 – The Norva, Norfolk, VA
Jun 19 – Friday Cheers at Brown’s Island, Richmond, VA
Jun 20 – The Grey Eagle, Asheville, NC

*with Chuck Ragan

[thanks to the good fans on the Lucero Message Board for gathering the tunes]

November 17, 2008

New Ben Nichols (Lucero) solo: “The Last Pale Light In The West”

Ben Nichols of Lucero has a gravelly, urgent voice full of hard wilderness. I cannot fully tell you how excited I am by the fact that his new solo album The Last Pale Light In The West is inspired by the Cormac McCarthy book Blood Meridian, which I coincidentally just started reading last week. McCarthy is one of my favorite authors, and Nichols has the chops to compose the perfect atmospheric soundtrack to his writing.

STREAM: The Last Pale Light In The West – Ben Nichols

The seven song “mini-LP” was recorded this past summer with Rick Steff (Cat Power, Lucero) and Todd Beene (Glossary), and will be released January 2009 via Liberty & Lament / The Rebel Group.

In full band news, the formidable Lucero [previous lavish Fuel/Friends love] has signed to Universal, and they’ll be heading into the studio to record music for their 6th studio LP at the end of 2008, which is scheduled for release in summer 2009.

[Top photo credit the fantastic Denver photographer Todd Roeth]

October 21, 2008

Ben Nichols (of Lucero) and The Gaslight Anthem cover Johnny Cash

Today marks the release of All Aboard: A Tribute To Johnny Cash, featuring The Gaslight Anthem and Ben Nichols of Lucero in a one-two punch, along with artists like Chuck Ragan, Dresden Dolls (featuring Franz Nicolay of The Hold Steady) and a variety of other punk/indie/Americana bands. Some artists I’ve not previously heard of, but they do the songs an interesting turn. Aside from a few missteps, in general the rough edges of this collection suit the songs well.


1. Man In Black – The Bouncing Souls
2. Country Boy – Fallen From The Sky
3. Wreck Of The Old ’97 – Chuck Ragan (Hot Water Music)
4. Let The Train Whistle Blow – Joe McMahon (Smoke or Fire)
5. Delia’s Gone – Ben Nichols (Lucero)
6. God’s Gonna Cut You Down – The Gaslight Anthem
7. Cocaine Blues – The Loved Ones
8. Give My Love To Rose – OnGuard (feat. Jason Shevchuk of Kid Dynamite and None More Black)
9. I Still Miss Someone – Casey James Prestwood (Hot Rod Circuit)
10. Hey Porter – MxPx
11. Cry, Cry, Cry – The Flatliners
12. Ballad of a Teenage Queen – The Dresden Dolls feat. Franz Nicolay of The Hold Steady
13. Folsom Prison Blues – Chon Travis (Love = Death)
14. There You Go – The Sainte Catherines
15. I Walk The Line – Russ Rankin (Good Riddance, Only Crime)

Bonus Track/Vinyl only: Delia’s Gone (Alternate Version) – Ben Nichols (Lucero)

All proceeds benefit the Syrentha Savio Endowment for underprivileged breast cancer patients; we can all rock for breasts. That seems like a pretty unifying and worthy cause. Buy the album for ten bucks on Anchorless Records.

Also, good neighbors take note: Ben Nichols and Chuck Ragan are playing (along with Tim Barry, Jon Snodgrass and Austin Lucas) tomorrow and Thursday nights in Colorado as part of this “Revival Tour.” Hallelujah.

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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