September 18 is going to be a big day: Both the new Turnpike Troubadours album and the new Lucero album hit the streets that day.
Lucero—the whiskey-infused rockers who have been the soundtrack for lonesome drunks everywhere since "It Gets the Worst at Night" first broke hearts circa 2001—that badass sextet has just announced the release date of their 10th full length album, All A Man Should Do.
As added inducement, the band has also released the first single, and it is exactly what you were looking for from Lucero's first LP in three years, if what you were looking for was a hint that the whole album is gonna be great.
"Went Looking for Warren Zevon's Los Angeles" is a subdued and powerful jam that's a big departure from their most recent efforts, the brassy 2012 and 2009 releases Women & Work and 1372 Overton Park. Notably, both of those albums and All A Man Should Do have Ted Hutt at the helm; Hutt has worked with Old Crow, Dropkick, The Gaslight Anthem (on The '59 Sound no less), Flogging Molly...
Anyway, both musically and lyrically, "Warren Zevon" reminds me of the raw, heartbroke songs that characterized the band early on: "Nights Like These," "Raising Hell," "Ain't So Lonely." It's more produced than their early, stripped-down classics ("My Best Girl," I will always love you best), but it's also more patient, more peaceful. This is a grown-up song.
There was a bridge here, so I'm not too surprised. Their 2013 EP Texas & Tennessee was a mature return to that older, resonant sound—Nichols has always been able to balance cleanly on the human tendency towards nostalgia without sliding into sentimentality and he does so with authority in Texas & Tennessee. If the rest of All A Man Should Do is as strong as this new track, I think we can expect the same kind of achingly good grasp of themes that in lesser hands have become tired and worn: Heartbreak and whiskey.
Also appearing on this album is Big Star's Jody Stephens, the last remaining member of the original group that included Chris Bell, Alex Chilton and Andy Hummel. He adds back-up vocals to a cover of "I'm In Love With A Girl," the first-ever cover on a Lucero LP.
The band will play 9:30 October 11. Get your tickets early, these guys sell out.