Lucero Close Out Another 'Sad and Lonely' Year at Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley

Dan Ball


May your darkest hour with family over the holidays be more tolerable than the happiest moments on any of Lucero's ten studio albums.

The Memphis-based alt-country-punk band are known for depressingly glorious tracks like "Sad and Lonely" and "Drink Till We're Gone," honoring the downtrodden, the dastardly drunk and the bitterly heartbroken. Lucero helped introduced an entire subculture of punk and alt-rock fans to the roots Americana genre that today thrives with stars like Jason IsbellMy Morning Jacket, Justin Townes Earl and the Drive-By Truckers, and paved a path for post-punk frontmen like Hot Water Music's Chuck Ragan and Avail's Tim Barry.

Next week, Lucero starts a three-night run at the 300-cap Sweetwater Music Hall, 10 miles north of San Francisco in downtown Mill Valley, reopened by the Grateful Dead's Bob Weir in 2012 after a five-year lull (and move to a new location). Led by Ben Nichols with original members Brian Venable, Roy Berry, and John C. Stubblefield (keyboardist Rick Steff joined in 2006), Lucero plays Dec. 27-29 supporting the band's 2018 record Among the Ghosts on Nashville indie label Thirty Tigers. Among the Ghosts was recorded and co-produced with Grammy-winning engineer/producer Matt Ross-Spang at the historic Sam Phillips Recording Service in Memphis.

Among the Ghosts is the first album Nicoles has written since his marriage and the birth of his daughter Izzy, offering up a dark and emery palate of stories about a divorce on “Always Been You," the emptiness of fame on "For the Lonely Ones" and a reckoning with demons on "Everything has Changed." In some ways the album and the band's catalog are the musical equivalent of the 2019 Netflix film "A Marriage Story" drowned in stale bourbon, blood spit in beer and southern gothic transgressions.

It's also probably one of the band's best albums since 2003's That Much Further West. And while the music can be somber, Lucero shows are super fun and built around the community the band has built through constant touring — they average 200 shows a year — watching each other grow older and grayer. And after too many days of Christmas, your family won't be there to bug you. Unless...

Tickets for the three-show run can be found here. Learn more about Lucero at


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