For an artist four albums, one DVD, a handful of live records into his career, having had songs placed in several prime time TV shows, (including the critically acclaimed ABC series, “Brothers and Sisters” and NBC’s “Friday Night Lights”) and having shared the stage with everyone from *NSYNC to Marc Anthony; Joss Stone to Chris Whitley, you would think Tony Lucca might be a household name by now. Instead, Lucca manages to stroll casually under the radar, patient though persistent and seemingly content with his place in today’s ever-evolving music business.
He’s been in bands since the age of 10, been recording in the studio since 13, started touring and performing for fans just about the same time he got his first drivers license. Though it wasn’t until the Michigan-native turned 18 and moved to Los Angeles that he realized his true potential as a legitimate artist. After familiarizing himself with the landscape, Lucca soon began writing and recording music with some of the most talented artists and players around. In 2001 he received the L.A. Music Award for Best Male Singer/songwriter of the year as he continued to fill venues coast to coast.
In this day and age of cultural excess, simplicity is often a breath of fresh air. With a surge of “Bleep Bloop” musicians who use a heavy dose of post-production to get their songs, there has been an increasing number of singer/songwriters who use the old axiom of “Less is more”. One of these musicians is Tony Lucca, a Michigan born Renaissance man. With a career spanning not only singing and writing, but producing and acting as well, Tony Lucca has been climbing the ladder of media success since his casting on the infamous “Mickey Mouse Club” in 1991. Now mainly focusing on music, Lucca has settled into the role of acoustic rock troubadour quite nicely.
On his just released, 5 song Close Enough EP, Tony Lucca does a commendable job of paring strong songwriting with simple guitar and production. Sounding like a mix of Ben Harper and Michael Franti, Lucca plucks away with his own sound of quiet desperation. Lucca isn’t the best guitarist in the world, but the stripped down nature of his songs work well with his laid back instrumentals.
Recorded entirely in one session at Epiphonic Studios in North Carolina, Close Enough is an eclectic mix of laid-back songs. On the opener Close Enough, Lucca delivers a laundry list of problems facing the world in an exasperated attempt to ask the listener “Is it hitting close enough to home for you?” Conjuring up Jason Mraz like wordplay, Lucca seems to enjoy twisting his words around his funky guitar. “True Story” tells a seemingly autobiographical tale while adding a slight country twang to the vocals. On the standout, “New York City” Lucca shows off his talent for creating vivid atmosphere and imagery while painting a picture of someone homesick in the Big Apple. With lines like “Make conversation with the bartender/she’s cutting lines/I ask about her accent/I do my best to describe mine” Lucca is at his best when working with description and imagery.
Close Enough is a shot but solid record, doing exactly what EP’s are supposed to do: Leave you wanting more.
Review by Pat Moran