Artist: Austin Lucas
Album: Between the Moon and the Midwest
Label: Last Chance Records
Release Date: 02/19/2016
Austin Lucas’ most recent album, Between the Moon and the Midwest, is awesomely reminiscent of vintage Garth Brooks. Lyrics from “Midnight” bring to mind Brook’s 1989 song “Much Too Young,“ and many of the songs are heavy on the buildup and pedal steel in a very Brooks fashion. The trendy sound of today’s reverb and feedback in Americana music give it a modern touch, but the album has a special late-’80s theme reminiscent of country music’s sweeping comeback after its long exile. Not quite folk punk, and not quite outlaw country, Between the Moon and the Midwest gets more interesting each time you listen.
In 2013, Lucas released a solo album, Stay Reckless, but this time he leaves the thrashing guitar riffs and bluegrass roots at the door without sacrificing the subtlety of his sweeter ballads. A pairing with Lydia Loveless for the gorgeous “Wrong Side of The Dream” is a wise one. Anyone who has ever been or loved an artist can painfully relate. Their vocals form a sound as savory as a sea salt brownie, and the melody keeps listeners wanting more. The opening track “Unbroken Hearts” has a memorable, sing-along edge, but “William” is the real heartbreaker of the album. A story about a man caught in a careless affair with his best friend’s wife which leads to death, “William” is one of those songs you listen to a handful of times just to be sure you’re hearing it right.
Coming from a musical bloodline, Lucas has already released 11 solo records in his young age, has been with a few different record labels, and has been part of about four different bands. After that kind of exploration he seems to have settled on a mature, more personal sound with this album. His collaborations with other artists offer up a fresh, kindred connection that fuels Americana music today, and this album captures it perfectly. Lucas is an old soul focused on his craft of songwriting and definitely deserves attention.
—Bylle Breaux Stasi