Lucero: 1372 Overton Park

RIYL: Ryan Bingham, Bruce Springsteen, Soul Asylum

1372 Overton Park is the sixth album from these Memphis blues rockers, but it marks their major label debut. There’s a rootsy blues rock sound at the core, but with a punk influence and soulful horn arrangements from Memphis session player Jim Spake. The band claims no one genre as their own, preferring to mix and match. Guitarist/vocalist Ben Nichols is the star of the show, delivering gritty vocals blending blues with punk and country vibes throughout the album. You rarely hear a punk influence blended with a horn section though, making for a relatively unique vibe.

The tunes are mostly bluesy rockers, accented with those soulful Memphis horns to create a sound that seems like it would go well with adult beverages. “The Devil and Maggie Chascarillo” builds slowly with piano and arpeggiated chords, and some tasty lead guitar that could open up nicely live. “What Are You Willing to Lose” shines with an up-tempo rocker where Nichols truly sounds like a man who is indeed ready to lay it all on the line, as he sings in the song. “Sixes and Sevens” is a high-energy party tune about gambling and carousing, with the horns and lead guitar intertwining nicely, while “Hey Darlin’ Do You Gamble?” brings things down a notch with a heartfelt romantic plea from Nichols to the girl of his affections to gamble on running with him. Overall, the album hits the mark as an homage to the musical heritage of Memphis. (Universal Republic 2009)

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