All A Man Should Do

Memphis, Tennessee’s Lucero, since their earliest albums, have always come across as grizzled and wise old outlaws. Even their most raucous tunes seem to be filtered through a hangover. And while lead singer Ben Nichols is keenly aware of the consequences of hard livin’, the slow march of time has never been more at the forefront than it is on All A Man Should Do, their 10th full-length.

Hell, there’s even a soulful, optimistic, horn-filled romp called Young Outlaws, about hangin’ up your guns. But just because the band sounds ready to ride into the sunset doesn’t mean the songs have turned soft. Nichols’s gravelly vocals are more immediate and heartfelt than ever, especially on the dark, ruefuI I Woke Up In New Orleans, about self-destructive alcoholism. Lighter subject matter works less well (the pleasant ditty I’m In Love With A Girl, the lacklustre Throwback No. 2) but has enough southern soul to keep things interesting. Everything wraps up beautifully at the end, though, with the hopeful My Girl & Me In ’93, an emotional, piano- and guitar-driven us-vs.-them ballad.

Top track: My Girl & Me In ’93

Lucero play Lee’s Palace on October 15 and 16. Win tickets here!

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