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Immortal Americans is Americana singer-songwriter Austin Lucas’ 7th studio album. Recorded at Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio Company studio in Chicago it is Lucas’ first since he parted company with New West Records, with whom he had been since 2013. Now we see the beginning of a new, exciting chapter in his career. It has seen Lucas return to his mid-western home of Bloomington, Indiana (after a twenty year absence), and with him now sober, and having shed 100 pounds he is not only a fitter man but owner of a sharper pen. For his writing material he has drawn on recollections of his youth and growing up an outsider in a small town, plus what life has thrown at him since. Lucas alongside producer Will Johnson (Centro-Matic) have come through with a simply worked recording. One that needed little adjustment to the initial unplugged version, but enough for some friends to drop by and play in his studio band. Among whom you have his father, mountain folk bluegrass musician singer-songwriter Bob Lucas (Alison Krauss among others have recorded his work) on clawhammer banjo. Immortal Americans is both a home coming album, and an anolog recording. The songs were written and originally tracked during the above noted period of self-discovery. Recovering from his addiction and giving support his new partner through illness after his divorce has been a potent time for reflection and revaluation of his life and life in general.
Musically, the music is raw. With influences including music he was brought up on flavouring his storytelling the listener can’t help but be drawn to the directness of it all. The strong melodies and lyrics seem to come to him in a rush and of a kind set to stay with one forever; a prime example been sung the song of their fathers, all the prayers of their mothers, dutiful daughters, dutiful sons etc..Sha, la la goods the rattle and hum from the heart of some mid-western home.
To go with the powerful title-track Immortal Americans Lucas likewise hits the jackpot with 5star effort, Monroe Country Nights (that contains great momentum and exquisite lyrics). While with a chugging rhythm, Killing Time brings to mind the music of Pete Anderson. Eye Of The Asp features banjo and is quite folky. As for the folk ballad Goat And Goose that features more excellent claw hammer banjo it is even better. Shallow Inland Sea offers much room for reflection as more solid imagery is brought to the table. Between The Leaves with its simple arrangement likewise conjures great imagery, as Lucas (a true rebel) let’s his imagination and creative power run wild. Such is the width and depth of Lucas’ work Immortal Americans is one of those albums you discover something else of value among the lyrics each time you give it a listen, and that’s something I am set to do often.
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