“With a lot of my previous records, I found that the songs came very naturally - and maybe too easily. I wanted to be more intentional with my song writing for EAMCB. I spent a lot more time focusing on the writing aspect and thus had more songs to choose from when it came time to record the record.”
— Zachary Luckey
Zachary Lucky, grandson of the well-known Smilin’ Johnnie of Wroxton, is continuing to follow in the family business of making music.
Lucky, who hails from Saskatoon, has just released a new album, one which took some time to come about.
“‘Everywhere A Man Can Be’ is the first record that I’ve put out in three years - which feels like a long time - but I’m starting to think that it was just the right amount of time,” Lucky told Yorkton This Week.
“A lot happened in those three years. I spent a lot of time on the road - I had a kid - spent more time around the east. All of these changes played a part in how this record turned out.”
Those events influenced the album as it developed.
“‘Everywhere A Man Can Be’ is a collection of Canadiana - folk and country songs about being on the road,” offered Lucky. “Sonically, it’s a pretty big change from my previous records and features a full band throughout the whole record.”
With the new album Lucky said the writing process changed for him.
“With a lot of my previous records, I found that the songs came very naturally - and maybe too easily,” he said. “I wanted to be more intentional with my song writing for EAMCB. I spent a lot more time focusing on the writing aspect and thus had more songs to choose from when it came time to record the record.
“The month before we went into making the record I sat down with producer Aaron Goldstein and we spent two days going through all of the songs, fine tuning them and figuring which songs really fit together well.
“What we came out with at the end of those two days in December were the nine songs that comprise ‘Everywhere A Man Can Be’.”
The three-year window allowed material to accumulate over a period of time for the new recording.
“The songs on ‘Everywhere A Man Can Be’ range from winter 2014 right up to the month before we went into the studio - which is interesting, because I’ve been playing some of those songs for years - and some of them are still very new to me,” said Lucky. “It’s a good mix of different songs that all play together to really create a vibe or feeling.”
So out of the new material, does Lucky have a personal favourite?
“My favourite songs from ‘Everywhere A Man Can’… that’s a hard question,” he said. “I think ‘Sell All You Have’ is one of the best songs I’ve ever written. It’s a story that I think a lot of people on the prairies can relate to - about someone having to give up their family land and make the move to the city. It was also about how we all have certain things that we have to do to get by on daily.
“I also really like how ‘Make It On Time’ and ‘Wild Rose County’ turned out.
“I think they’re all great songs - but I’m biased.”
In terms of his broader involvement in music, Lucky said it’s always been part of his life.
“I’m not even sure where the music started for me,” he offered. “I grew up playing music in my church as a teenager, and in the hallways of my high school between classes. That’s probably where I first started to find my love of music.
“Throughout high school I played in a number of different bands - punk bands, rock bands - all of which played a part in my finding myself where I am today, writing folk and country music.
“Some might say that I’ve come full circle, carrying on the Lucky family tradition - and I definitely wouldn’t disagree.”
Asked what style he plays, Lucky said labels have never been something he likes to affix to his music.
“I really don’t enjoy trying to pigeon hole the type of music that I’m making these days,” he said. “I often find that my music is too country for the folkies and to folky for people who like “country”.
“I think it’s what people are calling “Americana” these days. It’s what I like to think country music use to be. Its story songs, made with folk and country songs.
“My influences really vary - from old bluegrass music like the Stanly Brothers - to country singers like Merle Haggard and Townes Van Zandt - to folk artists like Nick Drake and Shirley Collins. I’ve never been able to settle with one kind of music. There are valuable things in a lot of different music.”
Similarly, Lucky said his inspiration is not easy to define.
“I often find it hard to pin point what it is that I find inspiring,” he said. “With this new record, ‘Everywhere A Man Can Be’, a lot of inspiration came from the three years that I spent touring my last record throughout Canada, the US and the UK. It came from the places I went, the people I met and all that I saw along the way.”
‘Everywhere A Man Can Be’ officially releases Oct. 7, and will be available digitally on iTunes, Apple Music, and all streaming services. Physical copies of the CD and Vinyl will be available via www.zacharylucky.bandcamp.com