Club Red: Ben Nichols of Lucero Bikeriders Tour

Club Red: Ben Nichols of Lucero Bikeriders Tour

With major support from the Telluride Ski Resort, Denise Mongan’s Beyond the Groove Productions is pleased to announce two back-to-back acoustic shows. The headliner is Lucero frontman Ben Nichols. The opening act is Brent Cowles. Concert is Monday, June 13 at Club Red at the Telluride Conference Center in Mountain Village. Doors, 8 p.m. Shows start at 8:30 p.m. Tickets, $20 (GA) – $30 (preferred seating) here or call 970-728-7432. Please scroll down to the bottom of the story to listen to a podcast featuring Ben Nichols.

Ben Nichols, on the road for his Lucero Bikeriders Tour.

Ben Nichols, on the road for his Lucero Bikeriders Tour.


Fours years ago, in July 2012, the Sheridan Arts Foundation kicked off its year-long centennial celebration (the nonprofit’s 100th birthday was July 2013) with “An Evening with Lucero.” The country-punk, alt-rock outfit was on tour supporting its eighth album, Women & Work, a love letter from the band to their hometown of Memphis.

At the time, Lucero’s frontman Ben Nichols had this to say:

“Having a band in Memphis puts you in a tradition,” said Nichols. “We started at punk rock shows, not necessarily playing punk rock, but coming from the outside, from a bohemian place.”

It appears the bohemian tradition is just as strong in Memphis as the city’s series of international hits. The popularity of Sun, Stax, Elvis, and Al Green does not, however, diminish the influence of the blues, Jim Dickinson, and Alex Chilton. The bridge between the shadows and the spotlight has become the heart of Lucero: Unafraid to mix pop with anti-pop, the group is known for charging into new territory.

Four years later, while the rest of the band is enjoying a time-out for the summer, Nichols is doing what he always does: charging on.

“Easy Rider” style.

Sorta kinda.

Remember “Easy Rider”? Written by Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Terry Southern, produced by Fonda, and directed by Hopper, the iconic road film from 1969 is the tale of a search for freedom (or the illusion of freedom) in a conformist and corrupt America, in the midst of paranoia, bigotry, and violence.

Paranoia, bigotry, and violence.


Ben Nichol’s motivation?

The singer-songwriter does not appear to be driven by any of the above, not by disillusion or (as was the case in “Easy Rider”) drugs.

What revs his engine appears to be pure pleasure, a Big Love for his BMW 1200GS, and a desire to dust off tunes in his solo catalog that generally don’t see the limelight in Lucero sets.

Tunes Telluride audiences will hear when Nichols returns to Club Red on Monday, June 13. The opening act is Brent Cowles.

This is Nichols’ fifth such road trip since 2012. Before Telluride he made stops in St. Paul, MN; Dallas, Tx; Lubbock, TX; Albuquerque, NM; and Ed Prado, NM. After Telluride, he head north to Colorado Springs, winding up in Boston for the Copenhagen Beer Festival in late September.

To learn more about Ben Nichols, listen to his podcast.

More about Ben Nichols of Lucero Bikeriders Tour:

Singer, songwriter and guitarist Ben Nichols is the front man for the Memphis-based alt-country band Lucero. Formed in the late-1990s, Lucero and the band has released nine studio albums and a couple of DVDs since 2001, each earning critical praise for the group’s gritty, rootsy and almost punk approach to country-rock, as well as for Nichols’ emotive, whiskey-soaked vocals. During breaks from Lucero, Nichols began recording more acoustic-based material and an EP featuring a stripped-down trio of Nichols on acoustic guitar, Rick Steff (Cat Power) on accordion and piano and Todd Been (Glossary) on pedal steel and electric guitar appeared under Nichols’ name in 2009 from Liberty & Lament Records. Titled The Last Pale Light in the West, the EP’s seven songs are all based on characters and situations drawn from Cormac McCarthy’s novel Blood Meridian.

 About Brent Cowles:

Brent Cowles began playing the guitar at the age of 13. Within a year, he was writing his own music and playing in bands. At 17, Cowles began a solo career under the moniker  “You, Me and Apollo,” playing mostly in the Southwest and West Coast.

In 2011, You, Me and Apollo transitioned from a solo act to a full band. The band released a well-received debut EP titled Cards with Cheats and later a full length album, Sweet Honey. After a great ride and three years of touring the United States, and much to their fans dismay, the band called it quits.

After a short break from music, Cowles returned to his roots; standing on a stage, just him and his guitar, belting out his poetry that, according to the Denver Post, would be the envy of songwriters twice his age. Cowles writes from a deep, raw, authentic place and marries it to a sound that has been likened to the soul of Sam Cooke and Otis Redding.

Cowles is currently working on new music and releasing a new solo EP.

About Beyond the Groove:

Beyond the Groove is Denise Mongan’s music production company. Its goal: bringing quality live music to Telluride, Colorado, primarily at the new Club Red at Telluride Conference Center. Past successes include Blitzen Trapper, Deer Tick, Matisyahu, Cash’d Out, Justin Townes Earle, Dirty Dozen brass Band, Lettuce, Dawes, Jenny Lewis, The Motet, and Elephant Revival.  Denise has worked in the music business for 30 years and is thrilled to now have the opportunity to be living her passion producing live shows.

About Club Red:

With a history of sold-out shows in its first two years, Club Red transforms the Telluride Conference Center into an intimate venue showcasing national touring acts. Plush decor, ambient lighting, and VIP seating make this venue unique to the destination.

About Telluride Ski Resort:

Stashed among the highest concentration of 13,000- and 14,000-foot peaks in North America, Telluride offers some of the most spectacular skiing and riding on the planet. Unique culinary experiences on the mountain blend with the world-class restaurants, sophisticated shops, luxury hotels, and great spas. Plus, getting here is easier than ever with non-stop flights from eight major hubs; getting around is a breeze with the free gondola transportation system. Discover why Telluride is “The Most Beautiful Place You’ll Ever Ski.”

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