Lucero team up with Charly Fasano for short film

Lucero 2015-001

Lucero have teamed up with artist Charly Fasano for a short film and multimedia project.

The Memphis band worked with Fasano on Teddy’s Bowling Alley, a short film featuring Fasano’s work accompanied by music from Lucero. The film was shot entirely on a Google tablet and features “…drawings, linocut block prints, black paint, heavy stock paper, fishing line, duct tape and a cardboard box.”

The film has been released to complement a larger multimedia project, Retrospect/ed.

Produced by Lucero drummer Roy Berry and engineer Chris Scott, Retrospect/ed features Fasano reading the poems “Gasoline Fumes” and “Teddy’s Bowling Alley” accompanied by the music of Lucero. In addition Fasano (a.k.a. “the city mouse”) has created a multimedia experience by constructing twenty-two block print illustrations and two short films that complement the poems.

You can watch Teddy’s Bowling Alley below:

Retrospect/ed includes a hand stamped and numbered 7″ vinyl record (only 500 pressed), a fifty page illustrated book and an original hand-pulled block print that appears in the book. It is available to order now via Fast Geek Press.

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Under The Skin: Dear Ben Nichols, what’s in a name?

Ben Nichols 001

So, you fall in love with music. Then you fall in love with a particular style. Then you fall in love with a particular artist. And hell, you’ve always liked great writing and being able to share your musical passion with others.

Pursuing your passion, you set up a Facebook community to share that love and provide a place where like-minded folk can congregate online. There you build up a following, all discussing, sharing, entering giveaways, posting videos and favourite songs; essentially, doing all the cool and awesome things that music fans like to do in the online space.

And having spent years building up that community and providing and sharing quality content, what happens then?

Why, Facebook destroy your community in one fell swoop!

So found Michelle Evans, founder and owner of the Dear Ben Nichols Facebook community.

A page dedicated to all things Ben Nichols and Lucero, and often legitimately sharing music from other artists working in a similar vein, it had built up to a group of over 3,000 people discussing and engaging with what they loved the most; the music of Ben Nichols and his Lucero bandmates. Ben himself was involved with the gang and often shared their activity via his and Lucero’s own media outlets.

Facebook’s beef?

That the community had been set up as a Facebook profile in Facebook’s early days, as though it were a personal page. Contacting Evans, Facebook said they had noted that the profile had a registered first name of “Dear”, that this couldn’t possible be anyone’s first name, and that the details needed to be changed.

“They said it wasn’t my real name and that I had to change or remove it,” says Evans, matter of factly.

Dear Ben Nichols Page Cap
Michelle Evans’ Dear Ben Nichols community on Facebook

Not wanting to put the community that she had spent years building up in jeopardy, Evans looked to comply with Facebook’s sudden and surprising edict. She tried using Facebook’s tools to convert the “account” to a “page.” However, bizarrely, the tool wouldn’t let Evans make the change. At least, not unless she removed the “Dear” part of the community name.

WTF? If it was no longer an “account”, what difference does a “Dear” make? What’s in a name?

Everything it would seem.

Ultimately Evans managed to create a page on Facebook called “Dear Ben Nichols”, using the name that she had struck upon and that so many people had engaged with and become a part of. But the issue didn’t end there.

Facebook, in their wisdom, deleted Evans’ old page before she had an opportunity to send a message out to the community members telling them what was going on, and where they could find the new community page. She was left with a new page, with few members, and no real means of communicating with the thousands who had “liked” and helped build the old community.

“They deleted the entire original account without giving me a chance to message anyone, save it or download a backup,” says Evans. “Fortunately I’ve managed to set up the new page, but now I have to get the word out and build up those followers all over again.”

Years of hard work. Years! Wiped out by nefarious Facebook in a few moments, seemingly on a whim, and for bizarre reasons. Goodness knows, no-one wants to be duped by Facebook profiles purporting to be someone or something that they are not, but that was obviously not the case with the now deleted Dear Ben Nichols page.

So, along with Facebook’s reprehensible experiments involving the emotional manipulation of over half a million of their users, their mind-boggling feed algorithms that keep you from seeing the content of the pages that you’ve actively chosen to “like” and receive messages from (unless, of course, the page you’ve liked has paid to have it’s content promoted in your feed), you can now add the brazen and willful destruction of an online community who were doing nothing more than innocently and legitimately sharing their love of the arts on a social media site.

Motherfu**ers.

Michelle Evans 001Michelle Evans is a music fan, social media consultant, writer and promoter based in Kentucky

You can find and “like” the brand new Dear Ben Nichols Facebook page here!

Find out more about Lucero and the actual Ben Nichols here!

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The Playlist: 21st March 2014

Here’s a selection of the music currently massaging the stereo at SBA. As you can tell, it’s been a Country Rock / Americana kind of morning…

Click on each of the covers to find out more.

Sarah Peacock - Albuquerque Sky Miss Shevaughn and Yuma Wray - Lean In To The Wind Lindi Ortega - Little Red Boots Kasey Chambers - The Captain

Whiskeytown - Pneumonia Jason Isbell - Southeastern Lucero - 1372 Overton Park Ryan Adams - Ashes and Fire

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Without a Song: Lucero – 1372 Overton Park

Without a song throws a spotlight on albums and tracks beloved of Skin Back Alley. Old, new, classic or cutting edge, our aim is to share good music that has touched us through the years.

Artist: Lucero
Album: 1372 Overton Park
Originally Released: 2009
Label: Universal

I’ve come to think that the term ‘blue collar rock’ has now passed into the pantheon of Great American Musical Cliches. You usually find it being used in conjunction with rough-hewn bands from the rock n’ roll tradition, singing songs about marginalised folk eeking out a living in the American mid-west. In their best moments, these well worn characters have managed to scrape together the funds to buy a car and head off to the promise of a better life. At their worst, they’re brokering a shady deal in a gambling town, hoping that they won’t get shot before the night is out.

Of course Springsteen is the undisputed champion of the genre, and the bands that have burned brightly and then burnt out in his wake are many and varied. You could list them from 1973 all the way to 2011 and still probably only just touch the surface of those in his debt.

But as cliched as the stories – and the bands that tell them – might sound when summarised in those terms, there are still points of light on the horizon; sparks where groups of writers and musicians manage to make the plight of their protagonists sound raw and vital and wholly engaging. It seems to me that Memphis’ Lucero are one of those bands.

Sure, you can hear the sound of Springsteen in the 12 tracks that make up 2009’s 1372 Overton Park, the band’s sixth and latest album and major label debut. But there is so much more to be sucked up, swilled and swallowed therein. Check out the honking horn charts that are the core of soul fuelled boogie Sixes and Sevens for a start. If you don’t want to pick up your instrument, buy a truck for touring and start a band after that number has finished cookin’, there’s something vital missing from your DNA.

Skip back to the start of the album and opening track, Smoke. Soak up that insistent piano motif and feel the hairs on the back of your neck remember that they’re alive. Tune your ear to the swelling brass and blooming guitar strum and remind yourself of a time when rock music meant more to you than life itself. I guarantee that by 3:45, when that lead guitar starts to wail, you’ll be writing a letter to your younger self raving about this great band you’ve heard that hail from Tennessee.

And where has Ben Nichols been hiding all my musical life? The man sounds as though his voice was carved from the foundation stone of the world. An ancient, wise and craggy sounding instrument in it’s own right, it adds a vital edge to the Lucero sound, evoking as it does the mythical power of a time when molten magma was that much closer to the surface of our little planet, it’s core unstable and yet somehow more alive.

Yet still there is more to be discovered in the fissures of Lucero’s geology. There’s a punky squall to songs such as What Are You Willing To Lose and Sound of the City. Can’t Feel A Thing and Hey Darlin’ do you Gamble? are cut through with a country twang and closing track Mom evokes the kind of lap-steel soaked balladry that wouldn’t be out of place anywhere south of the Mason-Dixon.

‘Blue collar rock’? It would seem to be as reductive as it is cliched when you listen more closely to Lucero. How about ‘rock n’ roll’? It’s there in their lineage, but it still doesn’t quite cover it. ‘Country rock’? Get outta’ here. No way. In as useful as labels are to help us understand our musical landscape, this is nothing short of a ‘Punk n’ Soul’ revolution. A salty, swarthy mongrel of a record and one that you would do well to track down to store close to your heart.

Find out more about Lucero at: Lucero Music
A documentary about the band, Bright Stars On Lonesome Nights, is available now.