Like pairing some old worn-in cowboy boots with a faded
Clash t-shirt, the country punk sound of Lucero’s eighth album just comes across
as naturally comfortable.
Women & Work,
produced by punk rock’s hardest working go-to-guy Ted Hutt (Flogging Molly,
Gaslight Anthem, Bouncing Souls), finds the Memphis band at complete ease with
their mix of ‘70s outlaw country and plenty of punk rock attitude and swagger,
making it easily the most consistently solid release in their already enviable
cannon of music.
The idea to bring in local horn legends Jim Spake and Scott
Thompson, who have worked with everyone from Al Green to Solomon Burke, was a
stroke of genius, underscoring the strong musicianship of this road-tested six-piece
(averaging about 200 shows a year). The horns on songs like the raucous, tear
in my beer “It May Be Too Late” and the honky tonk-worthy “Juniper,” mix well
with Ben Nichols’ gravel and whiskey delivery. Along with the addition of Spake
and Thompson, the gospel choir-backed “Go Easy” again finds the band remarkably
at ease trying something entirely new.
Lyrically, with many of the songs centered on bars, buddies
and women, you can’t help but think of folks like Willie, Waylon, Jerry Jeff
Walker and John Prine when listening to Women
& Work, which makes sense if you think about it. All four were punk
rockers long before and well after the genre was ever established.
DOWNLOAD: “On My
Way Downtown,” “Who You Waiting On?” and
“It May Be Too Late” JOHN B. MOORE