July 4, 2013

Musical maturation for Plattsburgh band

Lucid releases new disc, 'Home Is Where We Wanna Grow'

By ROBIN CAUDELL Press-Republican

---- — SARANAC LAKE — Hear Lucid as never before on the Plattsburgh-based band’s fourth release, “Home Is Where We Wanna Grow.”

From the opening guitar licks on “Ground On Up” to the final key strains of “Whiskey Dreams,” gear up for an aural voyage with Jamie Armstrong (saxophones/clarinet/vocals), Andrew Deller (keyboard/accordion/vocals), Kyle T. Murray (drums/vocals), Kevin Sabourin (guitar/vocals), Chris Shacklett (bass/trombone/vocals) and Lowell Wurster (harmonica/percussion/vocals).

The self-produced Fiscal Spliff Records’ release features guest vocalists Meadow Erskine and Glen Stewart.

“I felt that we were making some of our best music sometimes after a show or at someone’s house or in a basement or wherever…,” Sabourin said.

“We were hearing all these different things that we could do, and we were looking at how we were representing and what we recorded in the past. We were like, ‘All right, we have to put these other things out for people because that’s how we ended up with some tunes on there that we never played out live before.’”

“‘Home Is Where We Wanna Grow’ has a lot to do with us becoming friends with the Fledgling Crow vegetable guys out in Keeseville,” Wurster said. “Our keyboard player (Deller) works for him (Ian Alter of Fledgling Crow) now. It’s kind of like focusing on the food movement and growing local, eating local and organic as well. Part of what Kevin (Sabourin) was talking about was we were doing this around the whole end of the Mayan-calendar thing where everybody was like, ‘The world is going to end; it’s all horrible.’ And this was looking at a positive kind of future.”

The cover and inside art by Gabriel Leavitt depicts vertical-communal living, for humans and plants, alike.

“There are a lot of things going right, and there are people doing things that are right and focus on that,” Sabourin said. “It’s partly a CD of music, but it’s also trying to bring in concepts that we’ve seen in the community and otherwise and (that) people (are) talking about and hanging onto and finding a way. We have an avenue and a platform, so we thought we could kind of push that a little bit.”

Lucid was founded while Armstrong, Sabourin and Wurster were in their 20s.

“We’re all grown up a little bit, too,” Sabourin said. “We’re kind of in a different place.”

Stylistically, the music ranges from south-of-the-border “Despots” to the funky sociopolitical “Boats” and melodic love-gone-wrong “Purple Moon.”

“‘Whiskey Dreams’ is just sort of one that’s (from) traveling around and seeing people doing different things,” Sabourin said. “Some people doing good things. Some people doing bad things. You know, what people want. What most people really want and how are they going to get it.”

“Came and Went-Silhouettes” is a road song tinged with Canned Heat and twists of the Dead.

“Pterodactyl Lips” is a hot, addictive groove hard to eject from the mind once it enters.

“Parisian Melancholy,” a homage to lost love, is a surprising silk staccato on the not-personal album that includes the reflective “Can’t Get High” and retro “Highest Vibration.”

Lucid, a 10-year wonder, has honed its sound on “Home Is Where We Wanna Grow.”

“Chris Vanderwiel (a fan) bought one, and he just text me today because he finally listened to it,” Wurster said. “He said he was blown away. He said, ‘I had no idea.’ People keep saying, ‘Oh, I had no idea.’ I don’t know what that means. I just think it’s something special, the message, the songs, everything.” 

Sabourin is the band’s principal lyricist and composer.

“He writes songs that are about things,” Wurster said. “They are stories, and you got to listen to the words. This has some messages on it. It’s not just the music. It is the message. He’s probably not going to say it, but it’s amazing. He’s an amazing writer, and the songs and the stuff that it’s about.”

“Whiskey Dreams” references LSD, mescaline, nicotine, weed and cocaine in its chorus.

“But if you listen to the song, what I take away from it, and we never talked about it, it’s like he said, ‘You travel around, people do a lot of good things and a lot of bad things to themselves, and a lot of them are trying to numb themselves,’” Wurster said. “You can do all this stuff, but the thing that is going to hit you the hardest is love. It is a love song, you know what I mean, and that’s what I feel the song is about.”

The songs’ messages are embedded in the swinging “Green Money” and the rockin’ “Armchair Profit.”

“We have some other songs that we didn’t put on there that wouldn’t have been like family-friendly or whatever even though they would be,” Sabourin said.

“Everything is a teachable moment,” Wurster said. 

“Yeah, teachable,” Sabourin said. “We made a specific choice to make it like so you could sit down with your kid, your family, your grandmom, whoever. Because we started looking at some of our shows. We had everybody from little kids to 75-year-old people coming to them when the opportunity came. Certainly, we have to play in bars sometimes, too, but we also enjoy going out and being able to play for the community and people like that.”

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TO BUY WHAT: "Home Is Where We Wanna Grow," a new release by Lucid. WHERE: 20 Main in AuSable Forks; Conroys Organics in West Chazy; Bizarre Bazaar, Bob's Music, The Great Adirondack Soup Company, Express Lane, The Pepper, The Champlain Wine Company and North Country Food Co-op in Plattsburgh; and Ampersound Music in Saranac Lake. COST: $12. UPCOMING SHOWS: Noon today at the "I Love BBQ Festival," Olympic Oval, Lake Placid; 3 p.m. today at the "Fireman's Picnic," Fourth of July celebration, in Jay; and 10 p.m. today at the Monopole in Plattsburgh. Also playing at 2 p.m. Saturday at Saranac Heritage Farms Summer Fest, 100 Plumadore Road, Saranac. WEBSITE: VIEW VIDEO Watch footage by Robin Caudell from Lucid's recent CD release party at the Waterhole in Saranac Lake with this article at