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Southern Songs and Stories: Twenty Years In, A New Sound and A Different Kind Of Heartbreak - Lucero

Bob-Bayne_10-scaled Lucero.jpg

Memphis quintet Lucero has been making straight ahead rock without a hint of pretense since 1998, and just over two decades in, they are at an inevitable crossroads of sorts. A little over twenty years in with record number ten would be mileposts no matter what life had brought a band, but throw in big life changes (welcome ones for front man Ben Nichols, as he will explain) plus a new approach to their sound and a turn towards writing about characters outside rather than inside the band makes for an intersection you can spot miles away.

Join me for a lively conversation with Ben, touching on everything from his band’s embrace of synthesizers to working with his brother on film projects, the different kind of melancholy and heartbreak that he knows now from being a family man, and a whole lot more including, of course, a good bit of Lucero’s music from their new album When You Found Me

Thanks for listening to the show, and I hope you might reach out to someone you know who is a fan of music, history or culture and let them know about this series. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, TuneIn, Pandora, NPR One -- pretty much everywhere you can find podcasts. And once you subscribe, it helps even more when you give it a good rating and a review. Top ratings, and especially your reviews, will make Southern Songs and Stories and the artists it profiles more likely to be found by more people just like you. Southern Songs and Stories is a part of the podcast lineup of both public radio WNCW and Osiris Media. You can also hear new episodes of this podcast on Bluegrass Planet Radio. My full interview with Ben Nichols is on video here, and it includes even more nuggets like what it was like working in Sam Phillips Recording Studio with its upstairs bar where you can still sense the presence of all the Sun Records greats from long ago.

Thanks to Corrie Askew for producing the radio adaptations of this series on WNCW, where our audio engineer Sean Rubin graciously ran my video call with Ben, and also where we were lucky to call Joshua Meng our intern for time -- he wrote and performed our theme songs. I’m your host and producer Joe Kendrick, and this is Southern Songs and Stories: the music of the South and the artists who make it.

Songs heard in this episode:

  • “Back In Ohio” by Lucero from When You Found Me
  • “Outrun the Moon” by Lucero from When You Found Me, excerpt
  • “When You Found Me” by Lucero from When You Found Me, excerpt
  • “Pull Me Close Don’t Let Go” by Lucero from When You Found Me, excerpt

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Joe Kendrick grew up far off in the woods at in rural Stanfield, NC, where he acquired his first Sony Walkman, listened to both AM and FM radio from Charlotte, went to Nascar races at Charlotte Motor Speedway, attended a small Baptist church, read Rolling Stone, subscribed to cassette clubs, and played one very forgettable season of high school football. From there, Joe studied Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was able to fulfill his dream of being a disc jockey at WXYC. He volunteered at WNCW soon after graduation.