Austin Lucas, with Nic Clark, Monday, March 18, 7 p.m., 2106 E. Platte Ave., $8/adv, $10/door, all ages, blacksheeprocks.com, 227-7625.
part from it being recorded very quickly, Austin Lucas’ Immortal Americans isn’t necessarily the kind of album you’d associate with Steve Albini, who built his reputation behind the boards for higher-decibel legends like Nirvana and The Breeders. But that’s also the case for Lucas himself, a former Bloomington, Indiana, choirboy who spent more than a decade fronting hardcore bands before following the acoustic-punk path trod by his friends Chuck Ragan and Frank Turner. Set against the backdrop of his girlfriend undergoing chemotherapy and his own recovery from alcoholism, Lucas’ latest recording has more than a few sobering moments, with arrangements that go heavy on pedal steel and banjo, the latter courtesy of his father, the bluegrass musician Bob Lucas. And while songs like “Happy” may be anything but, there’s a strange Richard Thompson-like catharsis to be found in lines like “My mother says the devil is the only one / Who ever gained a thing by telling folks the truth / And my father says the devil and my mother are the only ones / Who’ll be there always and forever no matter what I do.” Even so, there are traces of hopefulness beneath the surface of Lucas’ country-tinged Americana, something we’ll likely see more of as he puts his recent trials and tribulations behind him.