Memphis, Tennessee has given us a rich musical heritage over the years. Sun Records introduced us to legendary artists like Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and B.B. King while Stax Records brought us Otis Redding, Booker T. & the M.G.'s, Wilson Pickett, Albert King and more. It's easy to see how a strikingly-scruffy singer with a gravel-voice and an Epiphone guitar from Little Rock, Arkansas could make the 2-hour trip east to Memphis and be influenced by it all.
Ben Nichols formed the band Lucero in 1998 in the heart of Memphis. They recently released their 8th record, Women & Work on ATO Records (home of Drive-By Truckers and My Morning Jacket) which tells the 14-year tale of what Memphis roots is all about. In fact, if you take a little bit of Sun, a little bit of Stax, and throw in some blues and punk, you'll get the idea of where Lucero is coming from. Described by some as country-punk, the band just completed a major headlining tour in support of the new album and continue their busy two-out-of-three nights a week on the road schedule. Until recently, they just might have been the best-kept-secret in music... but that is all changing.
We caught up with Ben just before Lucero's show at the Cannery Ballroom in Nashville on May 11.