Austin Lucas

Austin Lucas

Raised in the backwoods country of Monroe County, Indiana, Austin Lucas was born into a folk and bluegrass lineage. His father, Bob Lucas, is an accomplished musician and performer in his own right, having earned songwriting credits on two of Allison Krauss’ albums. Learning to harmonize before learning to read, Lucas honed his vocal control as a member of the nationally-acclaimed Indiana University Children’s Choir. In a narrative as well-worn as it is true, Lucas rebelled against his upbringing, leaving his Americana roots for the catharsis of punk rock. After the better part of a decade spent criss-crossing the globe with a series of bands in broken-down vans, Lucas hit a musical glass-ceiling, eventually finding respite for his ringing ears in the delicacy of traditional songcraft.

Singing with the conviction of a preacher bereft of his faith, Lucas tackles recurrent themes of the soul, sin as personal purgatory, and the possibility of finding redemption in this life. The fallacies of man take center stage as the righteous false prophet is denounced as a “hollow vessel with unsteady hands.” Turning the harsh light of hindsight on himself, Lucas addresses the hard lessons learned in the passing of youth, ruminating on the failures and missed opportunities, pledging, “If there’s a light shining/ Point the way there/ A straight way of walking/ I’ll be like an arrow.”

Following his solo debut, The Common Cold (2006), Lucas has steadily built upon his recorded output, releasing Putting The Hammer Down (2007), the Bristle Ridge (2008) collaboration with Chuck Ragan of Hot Water Music, and Somebody Loves You (2009), which debuted at #7 on the Billboard Bluegrass chart. Culminating with his fourth album, A New Home In The Old World (2011), Lucas has consistently evolved and grown as a musician and songwriter, resting on no laurels and developing the songs’ framework further with each successive album.

Having raised his profile on the road with Willie Nelson’s Country Throwdown tour, the troubadour-packed Revival tour, and in support of Pennsylvania’s Langhorne Slim, Lucas has also bolstered his loyal grassroots following with appearances at the Philadelphia Folk Festival, Canada’s Sled Island Festival, Florida’s Harvest of Hope, and a 2011 European tour. Folk music is for the common folk, and Lucas delivers, often ending his shows playing on the floor amidst the crowd.

Allison Weiss

Call it cliche but sometimes a musician's inspiration can be broken down simply. Some are inspired by fame and money and some just want to tell their story to everyone. The latter is the best way to describe 25-year-old singer-songwriter Allison Weiss. "When I started playing, I wasn't so much inspired by other musicians as I was inspired by the need to get a feeling out into the world," she states. Weiss' honest, catchy, folk-infused powerpop have attracted a devoted fanbase over the last few years. While her music has changed stylistically, her passion to create music hasn't. "I've always been a writer. I've got a lot to say to people and the only way I know how to do it is through pop songs."

Weiss first picked up the guitar at the age of 14. Inspired by pop punk and the ups-and-downs of young relationships, her journey began. Throughout it all, Weiss always embraced a DIY ethic. "I've always been a shameless self promoter. I never counted on finding anyone who believed in me as much as I did, so I just learned to handle everything myself" she says.

Confidence in herself mixed with natural online marketing skills has helped Weiss' spread her music to new audiences. Two highly successful Kickstarter campaigns resulted in New York Times and Wired Magazine features and a panelist position at SXSW.

It was at this point, Weiss made one of the biggest decisions of her life and moved to Brooklyn. The change of scenery brought a whole new mindset when it came to making music. "In the past I was just a sad teenager in my bedroom writing hopeless breakup songs. I'm still a sad teenager on the inside, but I'm also a pretty happy adult trying to figure myself out and talk about love in a more mature way," Weiss reflects. Weiss' maturity shined on the self-released I Was An Island EP.

Earlier this year, Weiss received one of the biggest honors of her young career. She was handpicked by Lou Reed to join his backup band for a European tour. While some might be intimidated by the presence of a rock legend, she tried to absorb as much as possible from the experience. "Our soundchecks were two hours long and he'd be there the whole time, breaking a song down into the tiniest parts, perfecting the sound." Weiss remembers. "He has this way of breaking you down with brutal honesty and building you back up with the most genuine praise. One minute he looks you in the eye and says your note was terrible. The next minute he stops the song to tell you how beautiful you just sounded."

If she took anything from Mr. Reed however, it was the reminder to always have fun and enjoy the ride. The sky is the limit at this point for Ms. Weiss. "My favorite moment is right now. I feel like I've just made the record I've been dying to make. I started playing electric guitar again. I got my hands on a tour van. I played in Europe with a legend. I flew over the Atlantic four times this summer. I've got this constant feeling that something great is about to happen."

Hello. My name is PJ Bond, how are you? Well, I hope. I am a man who’s spent the better part of the last 15 years everywhere from basements to theaters, tour vans to busses, on floors to swank hotels, and in and out of a variety of situations that all seem to begin and end with making and playing music. I am incredibly blessed to have been part of quite a few bands that I hugely appreciate, respect and love. Currently, however, I am playing music alone, under my own name, and singing songs that I believe in.

Fred Mascherino

Best known for his work as lead guitarist and co-lead vocalist in alternative rock band Taking Back Sunday, currently of the band Terrible Things.

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Austin Lucas with Allison Weiss, PJ Bond, Fred Mascherino

Wednesday, December 11 · 8:00 PM at MilkBoy Philly