Folk singer Zachary Lucky brings charm to City

There’s certainly something to the notion of passing down a musical gift to subsequent generations.

Take the case of gifted singer/songwriter Zachary Lucky, who hails from Saskatoon.

His well-known grandfather, Smilin’ Johnny Lucky, certainly made his mark on the musical landscape – particularly in Saskatchewan.

His grandson is carrying on the tradition in superb style.

He performs at Fratters Speakeasy on Sept. 24th. He’s also marking the recent release of Zachary Lucky sings Copper Kettle and Dublin Blue.

The album is a ‘vinyl only’ release, and if fans wish to get the digital versions of the songs, they’ll have to purchase the disc to do so.

It’s expected that there will be about 300 records available.

It all came about last year while touring in B.C. “We were doing one of those potentially grueling tours – we were on the road for 70 days and were in Kelowna performing,” he recalls. After the show, he and the guys had the chance to head into a local studio and record a couple tunes which they did – in ‘live off the floor’ fashion.

“We didn’t really have any intention of doing anything with the songs, but it captured a moment on the tour and in my career. It was a bit of a time capsule for me, and I really, really liked how the songs sounded so I decided to release them on vinyl as two singles,” he said.

“With this project, it just made sense to keep it smaller and keep it personal. It’s a conversation between me and 300 other people.”

Meanwhile, Zachary has obviously inherited not just a love for music in general, but a thoughtful, rare and unique means of interpreting it as well. Prior to launching his solo career in 2009, he was a member of pop bands Tuxedo Mask and We Were Lovers.

To date, he has six releases prior to Zachary Lucky sings Copper Kettle and Dublin Blue – three EPs and three full length CDs including Come and Gone, Saskatchewan and The Ballad of Losing You.

With an emphasis on songwriting and an ear for arrangements – Zachary’s songs have been described as the kind of memorable material that will haunt listeners and remind them of what country and western music was originally conceived as.

And at just 26 years of age, he sounds like he’s about 25 years older – and that is meant entirely in a complementary way. There is a depth and maturity to his delivery that is striking, which makes it not surprising he’s become such respected performer across the nation.

He’s also known for his demanding touring schedules – no doubt again fueled by his dedication to crafting tunes that a growing audience simply wants to hear more of. But that might be changing just a bit. He’s now a father, so there won’t be so much of those lengthy stretches away from home.

“We are making some adjustments in that department,” he explained. “When I started touring, I really wanted to get out there.

Getting the chance to play music in Quebec, for example, or St. John’s was such a rush. You are young – you have nothing holding you back, so why not go out and do it?”

He also recently drove from Toronto to Vancouver, and laughed as he explained the experience. “I am not the young man I once was – I don’t have the stamina I used to!”

So he’s happy with taking a different approach. Although one unfortunate thing recently was he had to cancel all his shows in the U.S. as the government there was growing increasingly tardy with processing visas. “Lots of Canadian artists are going through this.”

Whatever the case, when it comes to hearing his songs, it would seem impossible to separate the singer-songwriter from his prairie origins. “I started playing guitar at a young age – but it was never really something that I considered would become a career,” he said of his early musical explorations.

And although he didn’t know his grandfather extremely well, partly due to an extensive touring schedule, Johnny’s music was always in the background during his growing up years.

There was talk of further collaboration, but sadly Johnny passed on before it could happen. “Even towards the end of his life we had talked about doing some tours together, but it didn’t come to pass.”

Meanwhile, his most recent full-length recording, The Ballad Of Losing You, has been described as being a project that where the style drifted from Zachary’s folk beginnings into a country and English ballad tradition.

Engineered by Chad Mason, the album features such session players as Aaron Goldstein (City & Colour, Daniel Romano & The Trilliums) and Karrnnel Sawitsky (The Fretless) as well as mixing by Jonathan Anderson (Aidan Knight).

These days, Zachary is simply enjoying the ride. Everyday offers new inspiration to continue to pour into his music.

“I love what I do. I don’t really like the driving and the planning and all of that stuff,” he admitted. “But I got to Vancouver last night and did a show and it was just the best feeling to be back doing what I love.”

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