Cas Lucas Comes to Cafe Du Nord

by E. "Doc" Smith on March 16, 2007

Readers of BeyondChron may recall my columns about the young bluesman and songsmith Cas Lucas, and his work with the incredible Palm Wine Boys that first brought him to my attention. Since then, I’ve delved deeper into his music and his repertoire. His freshman outing, “Giving it Back” in 2006, put him squarely on a path trod by other up-and-coming acoustic guitarists before him; a bit of Dave Mathews, a dash of John Prine’s wit and sobering reflection, a touch of the great Michael Hedges, and one of my favorites; Washington, D.C.’s Ben Andrews.

Andrews studied and performed the works of Blind Willie Jefferson, Leadbelly, Taj Mahal, and Hound Dog Taylor, and through them, he ultimately found his own voice. “Roads”, Cas Lucas’ new CD shows a similar maturity, one borne of his travels, tours, trepidations, and tenacity. Lucas will be bringing his blend of acoustic guitar and band to Cafe Du Nord on Friday, March 30th. “Roads” is indeed a much-anticipated album and from what I’ve heard, well worth the wait.

Tracks from “Roads” first appeared on Lucas’ MySpace page in 2006, and “instantly garnered an outpouring of fan support.” “Feel You”, for example, is one such track, and a personal favorite. It’s grooving and playful, yet extremely thoughtful, and captures much of Lucas’ spirit, talent and flavor. Lucas isn’t all blues however, as he and his band step out on “Dream A Window”; a lovely little rocker that lifts you up and makes you want to clap your hands and dance.

Another absolute winner for me is the Hedges-like “Home”. I literally found myself hitting the rewind button on my iPod more than a few times. A beautiful Steve Miller-esque keyboard fill, used ever so sparringly, and that infectious groove…

Lucas co-produced “Roads” with Bay Area producer and engineer Adam Rossi, well known for his work with another local sensation, LUCE. Rossi and Lucas combined members of both Lucas’ band, as well as LUCE for “Roads”, and the collaboration was definitely well worth the effort. Alongside Lucas and Rossi, (on keyboards), are a few seasoned, session musicians who’ve collaborated on albums with John Mayer, Chuck Prophet, Counting Crows and Boz. Scaggs.

Some of the other guest contributors included members of his Cas Lucas Band; LUCE; The Palm Wine Boys’ stellar percussionist Q.B. Williams even added vocals on a track or two, and Lucas’ “other half”, the exceptionally talented Stephen Inglis, really helped round out this wonderful recording. “This is the album I always wanted to make,” recalled Lucas. “My first opportunity to present my music the way it was meant to sound from the beginning.”

I’m feelin’ you Cas.

“Roads” CD Release Party / Concert
@ Cafe Du Nord, Friday, March 30th
San Francisco, CA
Cas Lucas Band & LUCE
Plus the debut of Brad Wolfe & Megan Slankard’s duet show
www.myspace.com/caslucas

E. “Doc” Smith is a musician and recording engineer who has worked with the likes of Brian Eno, Madonna, Warren Zevon, Mickey Hart, Jimmy Cliff, Paul McCandless, Jack DeJohnette and Bon Lozaga. He is also the inventor of the musical instrument, the Drummstick. He can be reached at http://myspace.com/edoctorsmith

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