Lucero — bright star in Spanish — has been creating quality punk-inflected country since the late '90s. Hailing from Memphis, frontman Ben Nichols gives the act a gruff Southern twang with both his voice and his guitar. Since the release of 2001's eponymous debut, Lucero has recorded five more studio albums and plays an impressive 200 shows a year in the U.S. and Canada.
Lucero's new album Women & Work was released this March to much praise. This is the group's second record to include a horn section — an addition that allows the band to fully flush out its sound. As a further exploration of its members' Memphis roots, Lucero enlisted a women's gospel choir for the track "Go Easy," adding a soulful feel.
On today's episode of World Cafe, Nichols discusses Lucero's new relationship with ATO Records and how the band has finally found a supportive, music-friendly home after 13 years on the road. Nichols also plays new songs and talks about his stint on an MTV series, $5 Cover, which portrays the lives of struggling Memphis musicians.