Music News & Reviews

Indie band made good

Lucero and Glossary

9 p.m. Feb. 13 at Buster's Billiards & Backroom, 899 Manchester St. $12 in advance, $14 day of show. (859) 368-8871. www.bustersbb.com.

The story is familiar. A band rises through the indie ranks, earns critical favor and mounts enough of a commercial fan base outside its home turf to warrant the inevitable attention of the major record labels.

Thus Lucero — after a decade of forging a reputation for beautifully scrappy live shows with a rootsy, raw immediacy and recordings full of enough poetic street serenades to bring early Bruce Springsteen to mind — signed to the mighty Universal Music Group.

Now we have the first UMG album (technically, it's on Universal Republic) by the Memphis rock 'n' roll brigade. And guess what? The resulting 1372 Overton Park is not a sell-out.

Sure, the sounds are brassier, thanks to veteran Memphis saxman Jim Spake, who has designed similar horn accents for Al Green, John Hiatt and Solomon Burke. But the album's 12 songs — written, as usual, by singer/frontman Ben Nichols — are filled with love, loss, hope and, in the wonderfully unsentimental album closer Mom, gratitude.

Overall, 1372 Overton Park is a move toward the vintage soul sound that has long echoed through Memphis. But there is an even broader scope to some of the music.

The band's still-bawdy drive is not slicked up one bit by the brass, making the songs What Are You Willing To Lose? (which makes full use of the horns) and Johnny Davis (which forgoes them) sound less like Springsteen and more like the rough-cut post-punk of the latter-day Replacements.

There also is a meaty wheeze in Nichols' vocals during the soul-savvy Darken My Door that sounds like Steve Earle meeting Wilson Pickett.

Ultimately, 1372 Overton Park is all Memphis and all Lucero. Even the album title — the address of the Memphis loft where the four founding members once roomed — is a reflection of band and city.

On Saturday, Lucero, with horns in tow, returns to Lexington for its first outing at Buster's.

The Murfreesboro, Tenn., soul/ country barroom rock troupe Glossary, whose new Feral Fire was just released on Lucero's indie label Liberty & Lament, will open the show.

Really Keen

Sure, it was great to have Robert Earl Keen at the Lexington Opera House last fall. But many fans, delighted as they were with his solo acoustic sets, admitted to missing the veteran Texas songsmith's band. Well, on Saturday at Madison Theatre, 730 Madison Avenue, Covington, Keen's full ensemble will be on display with Bobby Bare Jr. opening. Yearning for something even larger? How about a truly Texas-size show with Keen opening for the Dave Matthews Band on June 15 at Riverbend Music Center in Cincinnati? Plan now. Tickets go on sale Feb. 26. For info on the Covington concert (9 p.m., $25), call (859) 491-2444.

Where there's a Will ...

A reminder to all Black Eyed Peas fanatics: After the group's Rupp Arena debut concert Wednesday (7:30 p.m., $19.50-$80.50), Will.i.am will head down to Buster's for a 90-minute DJ set (9 p.m.; $20 in advance, $25 day of show). Will will have plenty of time to travel between gigs, because Buster's will have several regional DJs on deck to warm up the crowd, including Shawn Tye, DJ Selektro and Dr. Tekno. Devine Carama will be the host.

Contact TicketMaster, 1-800-745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com, for tickets to the Black Eyed Peas' Rupp performance. For info on the Buster's DJ show, call (859) 368-8871 or go to www.bustersbb.com.

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