BEN NICHOLS OF LUCERO
Singer, songwriter and guitarist Ben Nichols is the front man for the Memphis-based alt-country band Lucero. Lucero formed in the late nineties and the band has released eight studio albums and a couple of DVDs since 2001, each earning critical praise for the group's gritty, rootsy and almost punk approach to country-rock as well as for Nichols' emotive, whiskey-soaked vocals.
During breaks from Lucero, Nichols began recording more acoustic-based material and an EP featuring a stripped-down trio of Nichols on acoustic guitar, Rick Steff (Cat Power) on accordion and piano and Todd Beene (Glossary) on pedal steel and electric guitar appeared under Nichols' name in 2009 from Liberty & Lament Records. Titled The Last Pale Light in the West, the EP's seven songs are all based on characters and situations drawn from Cormac McCarthy's novel Blood Meridian.
The guy and his guitar (and sometimes his backing band) has been done to death, but every so often something new comes along and demands that people take notice. John Swardson and Get Gone are the latest band in this vein to rear their bearded, denim-jacketed selves, and have quietly started garnering accolades. Swardson and company have played only a handful of live shows in the past couple of years due to multiple lineup changes, but this stellar dream of a triple bill should finally start the ball rolling the right direction.