That’s the origin of Scott Lucas and the Married Men. Most Q101 listeners probably know Lucas as the longtime frontman of Chicago rock vets Local H. His alt-country side project, the Married Men, played its first show in 2009 and released its first album in 2010. Now the Men are gearing up for the release of their second full-length Blood Half Moon.
When Lucas said the songs wouldn’t “fit” in with Local H’s catalog, he’s right. You’d be hard pressed to find cello or violin arrangements on a Local H record. Blood Half Moon kicks off with a twang-filled interlude that wouldn’t sound out of place in a 1960s-era Clint Eastwood movie.
It’s hard to tell where the country tunes end and the rock-steady grooves begin on Blood Half Moon, but what might be even harder to decipher for listeners is where Lucas drew his inspiration for this departure from his previous musical efforts.
Lucas says he listens to a bit of everything. His only rule for listenable music, regardless of genre: “It should be good.” Blues and country sounds might be new to his fans but they’re no strangers to Lucas.
“It doesn’t feel that crazy for me to do something like this for me, but it would be crazy if it was with Local H.”
Whereas his Local H gives Lucas the palette to paint his blue-collar rock-heavy rhythms, the Married Men showcases the softer, brooding side to his personality. No track off Blood Half Moon is a better example of this than the record’s emotional centerpiece, “Blood Half Moons.” Note the plural “moons” as opposed to the singular form of the word in the album’s title. Lucas claims he prides himself on never writing a record with a title track.
Named after the “half moons” that are left behind after clenching your fists, Lucas admits the non-title track is his favorite on the upcoming album. Though it was the first song written for Blood Half Moon musically, it was the last of the eight-track album with lyrics. It wasn’t until Lucas took a solitary drive through the desert in Joshua Tree National Park in California that he was able to pen the lyrics. Though he can’t quite put an exact meaning to the song, he sums it up by explaining it’s essentially about “serenely moving on.”
Even if he sometimes draws his inspirations from his national travels, Lucas has always stayed true to his hometown. Now three decades deep into making music in and around the Chicago area, he knows he’s not going anywhere soon.
“I’ve stayed in Chicago and not decide to pack up and move to Los Angeles,” he said. “The music that I really respond to comes from other places than Los Angeles and New York, like Minneanapolis and San Diego. Who goes to LA and changes LA? LA changes bands.”
True to his “I listen to everything” mantra, Lucas lists off quite the eclectic collection of bands when I ask who his favorite Chicago acts are right now. It’s a list that includes seven-piece metal act Bloodiest, party rocking mashup duo The Hood Internet and instrumental rockers Russian Circles.
Scott Lucas and the Married Men release their sophomore album Blood Red Moon on June 5. Catch them performing an acoustic set at the Logan Square Farmers Market on June 3 and June 9 at the Metro in support of Deer Tick.