Sat, Jun. 29th, 2013
Miller Made Music Concert Series
Lucero "Texas & Tennessee" EP RELEASE CELEBRATION
with John Paul Keith - Night 2 of 2-Night Stand!
Sat, Jun. 29th, 2013
LUCERO: ALL A MAN SHOULD DO – By Brian Venable
You could say we were one of the lucky ones, starting this band in April of ’98 without a clue as to what we were doing. We were getting tired of the steady punk rock and metal diet and we wanted to try our hand at country songs, or do our best Tom Waits/Pogues impersonation.
The trick there was that we couldn’t really play our instruments! I had never played guitar before and Ben Nichols (lead singer, guitar) had only played bass in other bands. Finding Roy Berry (drummer) and John C. Stubblefield (bassist) solidified the line up and being hidden away in Memphis allowed us to woodshed, experiment with different sounds and create one that was ours alone.
Eventually we got out of town, and playing 250 shows year not only made us tight as a band but as a family as well. We are still one of the few bands out there with the original line up from almost the beginning, and it shows.
Picking up Rick Steff on keys allowed us to expand the sound and grow musically. Being able to play whatever we could think up in our heads and having the music we loved and grew up on motivate and inspire us to try new things and take chances. We realized that if you added some horns to Ben’s lyrics that it took it to the next step, from sad bastard country rock to soul and R&B and we realized we were a Memphis band and came by it honest. We have always brought Memphis with us wherever we went and this just proved it.
We came out screaming on 1372 Overton Park. Big sound, bigger horns - like a kid with a new toy we put them on everything and loved it! This record was a marked departure from the previous sound and announcement of way things we’re gonna be now!
While 1372 Overton Park was written and the horns added after the fact, Women & Work was written with the horns in mind so it was a little less gung ho and was starting to settle in nicely. Women & Work is one of the best modern Southern rock records in my opinion and the song “On My Way Downtown” has almost surpassed “Tears Don’t Matter Much” as the crowd favorite… almost!
This brings us to the new record. All A Man Should Do contains some of the most resonant lyrics Ben Nichols has ever written, lyrics that read like chapters from his life on the duality of relationships, getting older, finding where you want to be in this world, and musically we are broadening our sound. Working with producer Ted Hutt for a third time at the famous Ardent Studios, we felt comfortable enough to take some chances with a palette of new tones that sound understated yet powerful, bringing life to the stories behind the lyrics without overshadowing them.
It’s also the first time we’ve ever put a cover song on a record, with a full band version of big star’s “I Fell in Love with a Girl”, and having Jody from Big Star sing back-up vocals makes it that more special and amazing. This is a Memphis record in the greatest sense and a perfect finish to the three-part love letter to a city that brought us up and made us what we are today.
“I was 15 years old in 1989. This record sounds like the record I wanted to make when I was 15. It just took 25 years of mistakes to get it done.” - Ben Nichols
“Having Big Star actually sing on your cover of a Big Star song that you’re recording at Ardent Studios - it doesn’t get much more exciting than that.” – Ben Nichols
John Paul Keith
John Paul Keith is a blistering guitarist and singer, and the kind of songwriter who makes great melodies and incredible lyrics sound effortless. His newest album The Man That Time Forgot was released in June of 2011 on Big Legal Mess via Fat Possum Records. Produced by Fat Possum’s Bruce Watson, it captures the spirit and energy of the live shows put on by Keith and his band the One Four Fives, but explores a wider range of themes and influences – echoes of Tex-Mex, garage rock, countrypolitan, mid-60′s soul/pop, fiery rockabilly, and even Mose Allison’s brand of jazz-blues. It’s around about the third listen the realization comes: These songs are incredible. From the Sir Douglas-like opener, “Never Could Say No”, to the wry, closing-time waltz, “The Last Last Call”, this is the work of an amazing songwriter.
John Paul Keith grew up outside of Knoxville, the son of a truck driver. He learned to sing in church and he learned to play guitar when he was ten and his father gave him an acoustic and a copy of Chuck Berry’s Golden Hits and The Best of B.B. King. It was the first music he ever heard that wasn’t country or spirituals—he didn’t hear the Beatles until he was nearly in high school. By the time he was seventeen, he was drawing big crowds in Knoxville as a member of the Viceroys, and then quit the band because he didn’t like the direction the music was headed. By twenty-one, he had moved to Nashville and formed his own band, and got signed to a major label within months. It was a meteoric rise by a kid everyone in the industry had their eyes on—and wanted their hooks in.
John Paul Keith can sum up the rest in just a few lines. He tells you nearly everything you need to know about him in the first thirty seconds of Spills and Thrills, his freewheeling 2009 debut, featuring songs so timeless and well crafted you’d swear they were obscure 50′s or 60′s B-sides. Over a swinging drumbeat and a stinging Telecaster, Keith sings, “Well, I’m right on the money, but I’m never on time / One step ahead, two steps behind / And I’ve never been lucky, and I’ve never been hip / Got a whole lotta headaches when I opened my lip.” Blessed and cursed with rare talent and common Southern stubbornness, Keith would have gone a lot further in the music industry if he only had a little less brains and a lot less integrity.
After years of frustrating peregrinations, Keith moved to Memphis and declared himself washed up at 29. But Memphis is the wrong place to go to give up music. Eventually, he fell in love with the guitar again and soon started hanging around Taylor’s Music where he met drummer John Argroves and bassist Mark E. Stuart. The nascent band decided to play some covers together in a local dive, and before long had added organist and piano player Al Gamble. Taking their name from the I-IV-V musical progression that forms the foundation of blues and rock and roll, the newly named One Four Fives gave Keith the one thing he was missing for all those years: A group of sympathetic musicians who could match his talent— and his integrity. John Paul Keith and the One Four Fives built a reputation as one of Memphis’ most ferocious bar bands. With this spirit of open-minded acceptance, support and encouragement, so special to Memphis, Keith began to write the best songs of his life.
In addition to releasing Spills And Thrills, Keith went on to tour the States opening for Memphis’ own Lucero, and then to Europe with garage-punk legend Jack Oblivian. 2009 and 2010 kept the One Four Fives busy in Memphis as well, releasing the Live At The Hi-Tone CD and two seven inch-singles. The story continued in 2011 with The Man That Time Forgot, Keith’s sophomore album for Big Legal Mess Records.