When You Found Me
Lucero has never been known as complacent. The beloved Memphis act has continually pushed the limits of their sound across their growing catalog, incorporating elements of soul, blues, and alternative rock into their blistering country punk. Accordingly, When You Found Me is yet another sonic evolution for Lucero, adding synthesizers and tasteful electronic flourishes. The album also finds frontman and lyricist Ben Nichols challenging himself in his songwriting, which on this LP leans heavily into narrative storytelling and also draws from his experience as a father to a young daughter. "We might be pushing the boundaries a little bit further sonically than what we've done in the past, but as far as the kind of personal aspect of the songwriting, and the kind of emotional aspect of the songwriting, I think that's all been there the entire time throughout Lucero's career," Nichols tells Apple Music. "So I think this is just another way of expressing what we've always done." Below, Nichols shares how each of When You Found Me's tracks came to life. Have You Lost Your Way? "That one, it was based on some really old demos that I'd worked on, trying to do soundtrack stuff for one of my little brother's films. My little brother's Jeff Nichols, and he's a filmmaker, writer, and director. He's used this sort of music in all five of his films, from Loving to Mud, Midnight Special, Take Shelter, and Shotgun Stories. I felt like it was a good starting point for this record because it's a little different than your traditional Lucero song—it's a little more ominous. And it introduces the sound of the synthesizers, which is also new for us. So it lets you know right off the bat this is a different-sounding Lucero record." Outrun the Moon "'Outrun the Moon' was the first song that I wrote for the album specifically, and it was the first single that we released for the record. It's another song with a young girl as the protagonist, and I had in mind some Southern short-story writers, a guy named Larry Brown from Oxford, Mississippi. It borrows from that world that he was so good at writing about." Coffin Nails "That one kind of originated with the folktale stuff that I was kind of researching as I was writing this record, and the first line I came up with was the line about something dark coming down the night John Rufus died. John Rufus happens to be my great-grandfather's name; in a backwards way I ended up writing a song in my grandfather's voice about his father, and they were both veterans. But in general it's kind of about fathers and sons, and the pressures we live under and put on ourselves trying to live up to the folks that came before." Pull Me Close Don’t Let Go "So, 'Pull Me Close Don't Let Go,' those exact words were spoken to me by my three-year-old daughter, and it melted my heart instantly, and stuck with me. The way the lyrics happened to fit on top of it, that kind of lulling, repetitive vocal pattern, it worked well and it lends itself to that phrase that my daughter had spoken to me." Good as Gone "That was all about the guitar riff, and then my bass player, John, came up with a really unique and cool-sounding bassline to go underneath it. It is kind of a nod to the rock ’n’ roll that I heard on the radio growing up in the '80s. I've always had a soft spot for those sounds, and getting to experiment with those and include those on a Lucero record was just really fun for me." All My Life "Once I figured out how the chorus fit into this song and the lyric pattern on the chorus, that's when I knew I had something good to work with, and the words 'All My Life' just naturally fit into that spot. Where do you go from those three words? And, yeah, that's how it naturally worked its way into being a song about my wife and ending up where I feel like I was trying to get to all my life. I feel like all my life I was searching for something, and as cheesy as it sounds, I feel like I found that with her and my family that I have now." The Match "In the old days I considered pursuing comic books and illustration as a career, and so when the band was starting I was drawing simultaneously, and this was a story that I actually illustrated, about a guy who actually happens to be kind of loosely based on my grandfather, who is the voice of 'Coffin Nails,' and an older Lucero song called 'The War.' I updated it to take place in Arkansas in the 1940s; none of that is really referenced in this song. It is kind of about guilt. The smallest things and the choices that we make can lead us in unintended directions sometimes." Back in Ohio "I happened to see a documentary called American Comandante that was about William Morgan's story, and I just thought it was fascinating. He was always looking to kind of prove himself, and then he ended up in the middle of this very historic event, fighting in the Cuban Revolution. He's some wayward kid, basically, from Toledo, Ohio. My wife happens to be from Ohio, and my daughter was born in Ohio, and I spent a lot of time in Ohio. The band is still in Memphis, of course, and I've still got a place down there, but my family and my wife, they're all Yankees." A City on Fire "That one was written kind of at the last minute. I had the main guitar riff for quite a while, but the song didn't fully come together until we were in the studio. I was writing those lyrics right up until the end of our time at Sam Phillips [Recording Studio], which happened to be summertime of 2020, when it was a very intense time socially and politically in the country, and California was on fire. Lucero's never been an overtly political band, and that's intentional. I write the songs and listen to songs kind of for another reason. The music is more cathartic for me, or an escape. But a little bit of it snuck into 'A City on Fire,' and even if it's not an overtly political song, I think it does kind of capture the mood of the time that it was written in. It's a little scary-sounding. I wanted to capture the idea that you're surrounded by flames and the fire's closing in on you, and I think the song does that well." When You Found Me "After a record full of darkness and moodiness and intensity, it's nice to end it on a slightly softer note, and a very personal note, and a very human feeling that I think a lot of people could probably relate to."