Far be it from Lucero to miss an opportunity to tell a great story. Bandleader Ben Nichols was inspired to write “Back In Ohio” after seeing the 2015 PBS documentary American Comandante.
“It’s about William Morgan, a guy from Toledo who fought in the Cuban Revolution and was eventually executed by Castro,” says Nichols. “He was a very interesting character, and I was amazed by the life he led—an ex-paratrooper, ex-con, ex-circus performer who ends up joining rebels in Cuba fighting to overthrow a dictatorship and establish a democratic Cuba, only to be betrayed by Castro and the Communists.”
In its 20-plus years on this planet, Lucero has never shied away from speaking its collective mind. Out January 29, the enduring Memphis outfit’s 10th studio album, When You Found Me (Liberty And Lament/Thirty Tigers), is a heavier, more straightforward affair that returns the band to its punk and indie-rock roots. Like 2018’s Among The Ghosts, the LP was recorded with Matt Ross-Spang (Jason Isbell, Margo Price, Drive-By Truckers) at the famed Sam Phillips Recording Studio in the band’s hometown.
To be sure, “Back In Ohio” is a potent album teaser—one that apparently could’ve led to bigger and better things.
“Musically, the track was inspired by songs like Warren Zevon’s ‘Lawyers, Guns And Money’ and ‘Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner,’” says Nichols. “It’s a straight-ahead rock song. Lyrically, it only scratches the surface of Morgan’s story. The more I learned about him, the more I felt his story deserves an entire album’s worth of lyrics. Next time maybe.”