Scott Lucas & the Married Men

George Lassos the Moon

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If we knew this was the sort of thing Local H frontman Scott Lucas was hiding up his sleeve all these years, we would have clamored for a solo project from him long ago. Of course, Lucas is best-known for turning out gritty alt rock under the aforementioned banner, hitting big on rock radio in the '90s, but he reveals a very different side to his musical personality on George Lassos the Moon. Lucas' first solo outing is a rootsy affair that's apparently inspired by his love of artists like the Cowboy Junkies and the Band (the singer/songwriter has admitted to a passion for Canadians making American roots music). Just as the Junkies' famed Trinity Session album was cut live to a single microphone, George Lassos the Moon was put together with an organic, rough-and-ready approach to recording. There's a tangible feel of players gathered together in a room, feeding off each other's energy, and a spontaneity that can't be faked by endless overdubbing. At the same time, the "Wichita Lineman," the with-an-attitude strings sweeping across "Weatherman," and the carefully choreographed, New Orleans-funeral-esque brass coloring in the closing tune (appropriately titled "The Last One") stand to prove that the whole thing wasn't simply thrown together without forethought. But whether the sound swells out expansively or closes up for an intimate feel, the folk and country flavors that predominate here are the perfect underpinning to the romantic ruin that preoccupies Lucas' lyrical muse, as he and his Married Men move through a batch of songs that suggest Mark Eitzel and Morrissey at a low-rent country karaoke bar (that's a good thing).

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