Austin-based Americana blues rock band Uncle Lucius is something of a fixture in Tyler and East Texas. They play the area at least a couple times a year (and have for the last several years) and yet somehow I’d never settled down with any member of the band to pick their brain. This needed to be rectified.
Thankfully, they have a show tonight at Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Que (their most frequent venue of choice when playing Tyler) and I had the chance to chat with frontman Kevin Galloway about where the band is, how they’re evolving and how they’re dealing with being right on the cusp of something bigger.
As a band, Uncle Lucius is evolving, maturing, says Galloway. They’re operating on a level at which they’ve never before approached in the eight years they’ve been playing. They’re about to hit a new strata of the band’s evolution and visibility and it can all be pinpointed to a specific, recent show: headlining at Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa, Okla. The show was the finale for a grueling four-day tour that went from St. Louis to Chicago to Minneapolis to Rochester and then finally Tulsa.
“It was totally insane. I don’t know what it was, something took over. Some kind of energy. It burst out. We’ve reached that other level,” Galloway said. “Trying to get some more national exposure, maybe more along the Americana realm and a big national radio push. We’re trying to break out, if you will. Overnight success in eight years.”
The roaring show at Cain’s (as well as the preceding four-day tour) served as sort of a microcosm of everything they’ve been working toward over the past eight years, Galloway said, and it served as an indication that the hard work the band has put in is about to start paying off.
“You’ve been doing it so much that you’re on the edge of being jaded, hoping for something more to happen. So when it does, organically, you realize this is all in due time, this is all supposed to happen. We couldn’t be where we are if the years before hadn’t happened,” he said. “So, I guess it just helps us to know our place and it reassures us that we’re on this right track and we’re ready to make that next step.”
That next step includes working on their upcoming studio album, the follow-up to their 2012 offering, “And You Are Me.” Galloway said they’ve all matured, sonically and personally, and he’s hoping the new album will reflect that growth.
“It’s time to use that wider palette,” he said. “We’re very open to experimentation. We’ll have more time to experiment. It’s not going to go too far from what you know as ‘Uncle Lucius,’ but I think it’s just a natural progression in my mind. Sonically, we’d like to keep experimenting. Instrument-wise, we’ll add a few more touches to the palette. I do the majority of songwriting, but we all write. Everyone’s ideas get heard.”
Galloway said he considers these new songs to be some of the best he’s ever written.
“For me, personally, in songwriting I’m paying more attention to what I’m saying. I’m paying more attention to every word and sentence. It’s very important to have an intention behind a song in order to get the most out of that short line you have to say something,” he said.
Inspiration can come from anywhere, from moment to moment, song to song. Galloway said he never tries to box himself in by writing to a particular theme, he simply wants to capture inspiration in its purest form.
“I think it shifts from song to song. It’s more an overlying filter. It’s where you are in life, what you’re paying attention to, what you’re listening to,” Galloway said. “Personally, I feel more at ease with it all. I’ve always questioned the nature of things, and there things that I just can’t change and I’ve accepted that. There’s an ease that comes with that. And through that filter, songs come. The best ones really do come when you’re just in tune and in that place, in that moment and ready for it, not forcing anything.”
No release date for the next album has been set, but you can catch Uncle Lucius tonight. The Bigsbys will open for them at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at the door or via www.outhousetickets.com .