Austin Lucas first came to my attention in early 2007 when he was featured on the track "Hold My Bed" from Chuck Ragan's Blueprint Sessions demo compilation. I sought out Austin's solo material via MySpace. It was there that I discovered at the time he was living in Prague, but originally from Bloomington, Indiana. He had previously been in grind punk bands Rune and Twentythird Chapter, but was now returning to his roots playing country/folk.
In an exhausting list of punk-turned-country singer-songwriters like Ragan, Tim Barry, Ben Nichols or Drag the River, Austin Lucas sets himself apart with a more traditional approach and a truly gifted voice. Influenced by his musical father Robert Lucas, Austin spent six years of his youth with the Indiana University Children's Choir and performing in operas and classical choral pieces. While the appeal of the likes of Ragan and Barry is the gritty punk rock undertone to their solo material, the conventional roots style of Lucas's songs may be a turn off. For me, the sincerity is the appeal. His songs are tender and reflective tales about situations and characters to which we can all relate, played with an simple but passionate honesty in his voice and his guitar playing backed by subtle instrumentation from a banjo, stand-up bass, or violin. When I saw Lucas play in Austin, Texas, in late 2007 in a bar with less than 12 people in attendance, I was simply blown away.
On this one track, "Hollywood," Austin Lucas introduces us to the horrors of combat through the experience of a "broad shouldered West Virginia boy" and how they compare to the movie industry's representation of war. The song comes from Lucas's 2007 album Putting the Hammer Down. Great track. Great musician. Check him out.
LISTEN: Austin Lucas - Hollywood