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Interview:
Lucero offers two shows in one night on current tour
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

» See more SOUND CHECK

Earlier this year, Lucero had the bright idea of playing concerts opening for itself, with an acoustic-flavored first set and a louder, more electric second half.

It was a novelty when the Americana group from Memphis did it in three cities for a mini-tour. But now that it's continuing the practice for its full-scale trek in support of the group's new album, "All a Man Should Do," guitarist Brian Venable says Lucero is discovering that "it's hard word."

"I'm not saying we bit off more than we can chew, 'cause we're kicking butt," Venable, 44, says by phone from Pittsburgh. "But it's twice as much gear, two sound checks, three hours of playing a night -- usually more. It's fun as it can be, but definitely like, 'Oooh, OK, alright, we might have created more work for ourselves."

Add to that mandatory sound check parties and pre- and post-show meet & greets with fans, and it's even more involved. "All of a sudden we're laughing and saying, 'Hey, we didn't sign up to do rock 'n' roll to do eight hours of work a day!'" Venable notes. "But it could be worse. We could be digging ditches."

Nevertheless, the guitarist calls playing the new songs "terrifying." "All a Man Should Do" is a quieter, more delicate album than most of its predecessors, ruminating on frontman Ben Nichols' breakup with one woman and his current relationship with another ("Everybody likes the new girl -- who we don't call 'the new girl' anymore 'cause she's been around awhile," Venable says). The process actually started on the 2013 EP "Texas and Tennessee," and after a couple of albums featuring horn and rave-up R&B arrangements, Lucero was in a gentler mindset when it returned to the legendary Ardent Studios in Memphis.

"We're older," Venable acknowledges. "Because of what Ben's writing about, there's a lot of raw stuff on there, a lot of emotion. That translates very well to this kind of sound. You don't have to beat it with a hammer; you can kind of let it breathe, and that's what we did.

"We're in our 17th year, so we feel like we can riff on any ideas we have. So for this (album it was like, 'Let's try to do this and see what happens,' and it turned out really good."

Lucero

Saturday, Oct. 17. Door open at 8 p.m.

Saint Andrews Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit.

Tickets are $20.

Call 313-961-6358 or visit www.saintandrewsdetroit.com.

Web Site: www.saintandrewsdetroit.com

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