Well I have been reviewing Zachary Lucky's efforts for a while now. This guy is one of Saskatchewan's prolific folkies, with CDs being churned out on a regular basis.
In the case of this guy regular trips to the recording studio is good news for his fans. He might write a lot of songs, but they are generally darned good songs too.
I suspect in Lucky's case his music, and approach to it, are both pretty much a case of genetics. His grandfather is the late Smilin' Johnnie who was the epitome of a prolific, wandering gypsy. Johnnie cross-crossed this country making it to every area repeatedly, amassing the stories which became of boatload of self-produced country cassettes, and eventually fodder for a book.
Lucky is proudly following those footsteps. Follow him on Facebook and you'll learn he's always headed on tour somewhere. He lives in Saskatoon, but he actually spends little time there. I've ran into him repeatedly as he stops at 5th Avenue Cup & Saucer for a cup of java, and he's always heading to, or from a gig somewhere.
It is fitting that the CD includes a song called Saskatchewan by Lucky, and another by Elenor Lucky, his grandmother and Johnnie's long-time partner on stages across Canada. A nice touch indeed.
In terms of recording Lucky keeps things simple. This is not music supported by a lot of studio wizardry, or enhanced by a classical band. No, Lucky keeps it pristine. He plays guitar and banjo, with Carly Maicher adding piano. Lucas Goetz contributes pedal steel. with Zander Howard-Scott of cello. He does pick up Mischa Decter on violin for Across the Ocean and Veronique Poulin with violin on Back in the Fall. On no song does the instrumentation overshadow Lucky's voice.
This is another solid Lucky effort old fans will enjoy, and new listeners should appreciate. Check it out.
— CALVIN DANIELS
Please pardon the lack of an articulate opening paragraph as my mind is currently being blown to pieces. This record, Post-Empire, is literally five minutes and 53 seconds in and I think I have found my new favorite album of the year, and I would sorely regret it if I spoke too soon.
Seven minutes prior to this point in time I had not heard of Will Stratton, a composing genius who quietly turns lead into gold in his small Brooklyn apartment. Stratton builds himself a new bookshelf in the library of traditional folk whereupon he sets the music that he creates. The beauty of this recording lays in Stratton's gorgeous avant-garde finger style playing, with every note ringing clear, and the string sextet that he arranged to fill in the ambiance of the album.
The opening track, "You Divers" swells to life with the aforementioned string sextet, layering droning notes over trickling melody and then suddenly dropping, opening up the floor to Stratton's delicious finger picking and smooth crisp vocals later to be accompanied by a thick electric guitar mirroring the sporadic notes and scales. Unreal.
The following track, "When You Let Your Hair Down to Your Shoulder" breaks from the gate with a guitar part as fast and frantic as race horse's hooves on the dirt. Each song pulls you along by the wrist like it has something fantastic to show you. Post-Empire is a beautiful collection of songs, wrung out of the ever absorbing mind of Will Stratton. To me it is a perfect balance between subtle and poignant, creating and borrowing, vibrant and hushed. Check out Post-Empire and Will's other three albums at www.willstratton.bandcamp.com
— SEAN CRAIB-PETKAU