With a sound that references Bruce Springsteen, the Replacements, and Whiskeytown, Lucero have crafted the Great American Rock & Roll Record -- a true blue album that has much more to do with Southern rock than revivalists like the Kings of Leon. It's full of Western sprawl, the grit and wonder of the open highway, everyday dreams, and the promise in a starry sky. Ben Nichols' Arkansas rasp is the perfect country-rock voice -- jammed with experience and heartache, and he lets all this out, whether on the anthemic title track or the shimmering, bittersweet "Across the River." As with Uncle Tupelo, Lucero play country music, but they do it with the attitude of punk and the energy of good ol' rock & roll. It makes for an intoxicating dynamic on brash numbers like "Hate and Jealousy" or the set's standout rocker, "Tears Don't Matter Much." "I'm just a Southern boy who dreams of nights in N.Y.C.," Nichols belts, but Lucero could never be just another New York City band -- after all, it's their ties to the great music history of where they're from that make the band so genuine. ~ Charles Spano, Rovi

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