This year marks two decades of making music for Memphis roots-rockers Lucero. Doug Sahm once sang “You just can’t live in Texas if you don’t have a lot of soul.” The same is probably true of Memphis. Having Elvis, Big Star, Isaac Hayes and Charlie Rich in the atmosphere must do something to a band. Lucero sounds a little like a dude version of Lucinda Williams, with those little yips and breaks in frontman Ben Nichols’ drawling voice.
One gets the feeling that this is a band whose members spent large chunks of their lives on I-40 and in dark clubs playing pool. Fans of Drive-By Truckers might recognize a kinship in Lucero. “So what if all our heroes are the losing kind?” asks Nichols on one song.
But it’s not all ruminative sadness and beer-soaked hard luck. Lucero has the DNA of a punk band, pumping out energetic bashers along with the slow-burners about long nights and leaving town. Nichols has written and recorded a concept EP inspired by Cormac McCarthy’s hard-bitten and bleak western “Blood Meridian.” Toughness and vulnerability get balanced nicely in Lucero’s songs.
Lucero plays Infinity Hall, 2 Front St., Hartford, on Saturday, March 3, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $23 to $49. 866-666-6306 and infinityhall.com.