Back in week 27 I reviewed the song “Tears Don’t Matter Much” from Lucero’s album That Much Further West. In that review I mentioned Ben Nichols’ gritty and gravelly vocals and the band’s inconsistent live performances. This week we take a quick listen to the title track of that album, the song that made me a true fan of the band.
The album version of “That Much Further West” is perhaps the most produced of any song that Lucero has recorded. The song starts off slowly and deliberately. As the full sound of electric guitars and keyboards enter, the musicians still present the impression that they are deliberately holding back. With every teasing crescendo the song pulls back. Even during the long instrumental section towards the end of the song, you finally hear the song’s brilliant and terribly catchy guitar hook, though it too is restrained. The produced sound and the restraint in the song give it a sense of spaciousness that evokes a feeling of looking West. The song indicates that there a much larger space that is yet to be filled.
Below I’ve provided links to three live versions of the song. The live versions of this song are quite different. They are performed with an upbeat rock feel that lacks the restraint of the album version. Much less is held back. In fact, when performing live, the band usually opens with this song. They play it in a way that is declarative, that sets the tone for the long night of authentic rock that is ahead.
In the first video, the song kicks in at around the 3 minute mark. The second and third videos provide a sense of what seeing Lucero live is like.