# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Austin Lucas - Immortal Americans

  by Benjamin Howarth

published: 22 / 2 / 2019

Austin Lucas - Immortal Americans
Label: Cornelius Chapel Records
Format: CD


First-rate new album from Indiana-based singer-songwriter Austin Lucas which proves to be one of the best folk/Americana records in recent memory

Much has changed for singer-songwriter Austin Lucas since the release of his last album (2016’s 'Between The Moon and the Midwest'). After twenty years, he returned to live in his hometown of Bloomington, Indiana. He found a new record label and a new romantic partner. And he tackled some of his demons, giving up drinking and embracing his love of martial arts instead. The face staring out of the cover from his new album is noticeably slimmer than the one found on earlier promo photos, a testament to a lifestyle change that led to Lucas losing over a hundred pounds. That image is a pictorial representation of a newly committed and energised songwriter. It would be unfair on his earlier work (none of which is substandard) to describe ‘Immortal Americans’ as a big step forward, but its certainly noticeably more confident and focused than his last album. That all said, it’s not like Lucas has had an easy life while he made this album. He found his hometown in a dark spot, struggling with the opiod epidemic and associated issues with HIV and homelessness. His new partner was diagnosed with cancer and Lucas became her carer while she went through chemotherapy. Those dark themes are not hidden away, but as Lucas says “Not all of this is happy stuff, but there’s hope.” Far from shrugging off his past, his news songs are steeped in it. Lucas has an interesting background – part roots music and part hardcore punk. His father, Bob Lucas, is a professional bluegrass musician best known for playing with Alison Krauss. But Austin’s first musical adventures were in Indiana’s hardcore scene and, while it’s his father’s influence that sets the musical direction, all of these songs would work equally well with loud electric guitars underneath them. For the recording itself, Lucas decamped from Bloomington to Chicago, with a backing band that included Centro-Matic’s Will Johnson (who co-produces as well as plays), his dad and his sister on backing vocals. In the recording seat was Steve Albini, whose work is predictably excellent. The whole record is recorded live and it sounds like the band have set up in the corner of your living room. Lucas’ songs have a rare immediacy – the choruses to upbeat tracks like ‘Killing Time’ stick right away, while the haunting tale of his partner’s cancer (‘The Shadow and Marie’) cuts straight to the bone. Best of all is the dynamic ‘My Mother and the Devil’, which sits somewhere between Damien Jurado and Bonnie Prince Billy in sounding like a fresh take on a classic sound. Throughout, Lucas sounds natural and unaffected. He reminds me most of Glen Hansard, and like the Oscar-winning Frames man, has a knack for writing songs that sound both personal and universal at once. This is one of the best folk/Americana records in recent memory.

Track Listing:-
1 Immortal Americans
2 Killing Time
3 Happy
4 Monroe County Nights
5 My Mother and the Devil
6 Eye of an Asp
7 The Shadow and Marie
8 Between the Leaves
9 Goat and Goose
10 Shallow Inland Sea

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