2015 CD REVIEW
LITTLE TOWN BLUES (Laughing Outlaw)
LUCAS MARKS HIS LOST HIGHWAY
Neither is the escapee in Dark Side Of The Road who drifts into the ether with no compass - just distorted static on the radio.
But, unlike the character in the Dan Penn-Chips Moman classic Dark End Of The Street , this lost soul is not cheating with a woman.
Just as desperate are the two characters in His Own Titanic who share a torn umbrella in the rain - “he was a small time trader in big futures, she was living in the now/ she took him for a schemer.”
Lucas rhymes panic, volcanic and Titanic so you get the sinking feeling there's little sunshine at the end of the voyage.
Please Tell The DJ , featured on Nu Country TV in October, is a clever revamp of radio reflecting lost love in that vast ocean of pathos primed paeans to heartbreak.
But there may be a peaceful co-existence as Lucas reaches his jaunty finale - Metaphor Song.
He reaches into the animal kingdom for the comfort of cats and canines' survival alongside movers and shakers who find their respective resting places.
Lucas produced his album with bassist-guitarist Brendan Gallagher also playing keyboards and percussion.
Fiddler Mark Oats, flautist Dale Barlow, Doug Boyd on piano and accordion, James Church on dobro, Zane Banks on banjo and Jy-Perry Banks on tuba flesh out the sparse instrumentation.
2011 CD REVIEW
MARK LUCAS & THE DEAD SETTERS
PUTTING ON THE DOG (LAUGHING OUTLAW)
Even the recently deceased drag racer, with good Catholic education and a Hills Church choir girl on his arm, who blows it all in a freeway fatality trying to outrun the law,
Nothing new there in Whitewall Tyres you might say - except for the girl left singing in the stalls with dreams of her lover who went to God to the cacophony of tyre swings.
Firewater , utilising another driving metaphor, finds the character flirting with fate and booze in pursuit of love.
But it's a far different and safer romance route in entree Love's Highway where the singer is blinded by his belle's headlights in his eyes “across a mackerel sky.”
Lucas is also a dab hand at simple love tales with fantasy fuelled Until She's Mine (Lotte Lyell's Blues ) and jasmine joy of Rainbow's End.
Such beatific bliss is rudely interrupted by social comment Standing On A Bridge - where corporate cotton heathens have their way until the water is all gone.
Well, probably not perfect climactic timing right now but yes, it's also a metaphor for a parched love of sorts with the devil lurking tattoo style on exposed thighs.
Lucas's romance requiems are never pretty - embryonic innocence fades in a tunnel of love in Sweet Corinne and angels are devoured by hawks and doves in Price Of Love .
His attention to detail peaks in Yesterday Girl where the faded dancer with “eyes like rapiers” is a survivor and fatal finale Wall Of Death as the male lead perishes in a Garden of Eden as a naked nymph takes away his breath and balance.
Yes, Lucas is a rhythmic romancer with accessible vocals never playing second fiddle to his narratives.
Well, pedal steel guitarist Damien Odell, bassist Chris Mearns, fiddler John Lee, drummer Steve Gunning and veteran Lee Kernaghan guitarist Jake Lardot ensure their master drives the train.