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Lucero are many things.

They’re a band that doesn’t have fans as much as they have diehards who come to every show and scream the words to every song from their classic albums like Tennessee and That Much Further West. They’re road warriors who live in their tour van and have had their touring experiences chronicled in the Dreaming In America DVD.

They’re a band that has been tagged as alt-country and punk country. They’re a band that has written plenty of songs about girls and guitars, and about life, love, drinking, and life, love, and drinking while on the road. They expanded their lyrical palette on 2005’s critically acclaimed Nobody’s Darlings and in 2006 they re-released the hard-to-find home-recorded gem, The Attic Tapes.

But on Rebels, Rogues & Sworn Brothers, Lucero prove themselves to be something much simpler than that: a tried n true American rock n roll band.

To call Lucero Memphis’ answer to Bruce Springsteen is not a stretch. It’s just how it is. On Rebels, Rogues & Sworn Brothers, Lucero aren’t afraid to show how much The Boss has been an influence on them, all the while maintaining their patented sound and style. Being from the South is important I think. It gives the songs a place. It makes Lucero what it is. The Pogues could never have been from anywhere other than Ireland. Bruce Springsteen could only be from Jersey. I’d like to think where we’re from comes through in the songs.

On Rebels, Rogues & Sworn Brothers, Lucero continue to tell vivid stories, peppering their lyrics with references to slice-of-life and small town Americana culture. They play with Southern rock, pop, and a heart-wrenching ballad on the new album. Twangy riffs complement Ben Nichols’ signature whiskey-soaked vocals. But Rebels, Rogues & Sworn Brothers represents another chapter in the evolution of Lucero. Sure, they’re doing the things they’ve always done, the things that their fans love. But this time out, they’ve turned the corner a bit, thanks to the addition of keys by Rick Steff, who also contributed keys on Cat Power’s The Greatest record. Here, Lucero fill out several songs with organs and pianos. As a result, Rebels, Rogues & Sworn Brothers is full, memorable, and layered, complete with resonant songs that tug at your heartstrings, and that take up real estate in your brain for days at a time. Gorgeous, varied rock songs are the order of the day on Rebels, Rogues & Sworn Brothers.

Ultimately, Lucero live to rock and rock to live. No more. No less. Its really that simple. -Amy Sciarretto


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