Lucero singer Ben Nichols, a shy, wiry guy held together by tattoos and a worn-down guitar, is what Ryan Adams could be if he’d just quit winking. Though the band’s name means bright star, here’s how mournful its songs actually are — in “Nights Like These,” the song’s narrator actually loses his girl to a writer. But the group’s sound isn’t just retro-alt-country. Luther and Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars loaned their talents to Lucero’s debut CD, and Lucero tends to lean into country’s mire the way the Dickinson brothers stir the mud of the blues. When Nichols sings a love song to his guitar (“My Best Girl”) or love songs to all those girls who’ve been wronged (most of the rest of Lucero’s repertoire), the stage shrinks for a little while, and the songs just keep on echoing.

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