South Austin, Texas’ Uncle Lucius is a dream, conjured in the minds of five sonic mercenaries, a clarion call to arms for true believers. It is the voice that shakes you from complacency, grabs you with both hands and implores: Get in the van!!!
Like the city that brought them together, UL is a gumbo, with hints of Americana and folk juxtaposed with a slow-cooked roux that is steeped in classic rock ‘n’ roll and the blues. The resulting flavor is familiar and unique, roots at its most refined, albeit with a gutbucket foundation.
A certain spirit inhabits the tunes and tunesmiths alike, a seeking and a questioning that leads one far from the prescribed path. It was that spirit that brought Kevin Galloway, then a banker and music minister, from his East Texas upbringing to the streets of South Austin, in search of a life more imbued with meaning than financial well-being. Around his voice and songwriting the other pieces fell into place. Mike Carpenter left his job on a Houston assembly line to vie for greatness in one of America’s foremost guitar scenes. San Antonio’s Josh Greco fortified the emerging group with his considerable classical and jazz training. The road brought them to Lexington, KY, where restless Jonny “Keys” Grossman was ready to eschew his comfortable life for a van’s eye view of the country. Last to join was Nigel Frye, the pride of Tulsa, Oklahoma’s outcast jazz scene, and low-end accomplice for some of Austin’s finest musicians.
The creature is a five-headed beast, each member’s diverse taste finding a place. Deeply indebted to the country/jazz/rock fusion native to Austin, as well as the ever-evolving gumbo that is New Orleans music, the band serves as a vehicle for its lyrical vision, one that imagines a life where profits and losses no longer rule man’s motives. Though its focus falls on the darker edges at times, at heart the band’s vision is a hopeful one. What could we possibly lose, after all, when “right now is all we’ve ever had”?
After 8 years of touring across Texas and to both coasts and back, the band was named 2014’s Best New Band by the Texas Regional Radio Report. Their most recent release, Live @ Grady’s 66 Pub, is available for free download at noisetrade.com/unclelucius. They are currently in preproduction for their next studio recording with George Reiff (Ray Wylie Hubbard, Shinyribs, Band of Heathens), with the album to be released in early 2015.
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