Zachary Lucky to Release New Album MIDWESTERN
The road is no stranger to Canadian country singer Zachary Lucky. He's used to rolling through hundreds of tour dates a year, sleeping in the back of his car, and playing his heart out in every town he moves through. He's learned to trust the road, and to trust the gifts it brings. It's a lesson he learned first from his grandfather, famed Canadian western singer Smilin' Johnnie Lucky, who was known for relentlessly touring the Arctic regions of the country. In his youth, Zachary Lucky felt free on the road, driving from one town to the next and never staying long. "I never felt the need to come home" he says, "because there was never anything waiting for me there." Ten years later, he's got a new outlook on his life and a family waiting for him at home in Ontario. The songs on his new album Midwestern, coming October 18, 2019, grapple with fatherhood, the passage of time, and whether his daughters will grow up knowing the Canadian prairies he still loves.
Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Lucky finds himself looking back more and more to this rugged Canadian province, trying to parse out what exactly makes it such a hotbed for great country roots music. With Saskatchewan roots artists like Colter Wall, Deep Dark Woods, Kacy & Clayton, Belle Plaine, and more all calling Saskatchewan home, Lucky thinks some of it must come down to the natural environment. "There's something about the Canadian Midwestern people that I haven't been able to pinpoint," he says in explanation. "There's a really strong work ethic, and a kindness to them that you don't find anywhere else. There's something about being in the middle of nowhere and not seeing a building or a mountain range or anything on the horizon. It's the only place where I can really breath."
To make Midwestern, Lucky headed south of Toronto to Hamilton, Ontario, to record with producer Dan Hosh, a longtime fan of Lucky's earlier albums. Lucky had a clear vision for the album and was looking to go back to his roots with a more stripped-back sound. "I've always been more of a guitar and a voice kind of person, and I'm drawn to music where the song comes before the production," Lucky says. With Midwestern, Lucky wanted to work with a simpler, more direct sound, recording most songs on the album live off the floor and straight to tape: "I wanted these recordings to make the listener feel as though they were sitting right next to us." Tapping into Ontario roots musicians Ivan Rosenberg (Foggy Hogtown Boys) on dobro, John Showman (New Country Rehab) on fiddle, plus Lucky's traveling band Mitchell Thomson (upright bass), Will Fisher (drums) and Kevin Neal (pedal steel), Midwesternsounds effortlessly simple, the sure sign of master musicianship.
The songwriting on Midwestern speaks to Zachary Lucky's yearning for rural life ("Back to the Country"), his feelings about leaving home ("There Was A Time When I Used to Roam"), his thoughts on fatherhood ("Rock and Roll Dad") and his own childhood ("Sunday Morning At The Dragstrip"), there's even an apocalyptic ballad ("Revelation Blues"). He shares songwriting credits on some of the songs with fellow prairie songwriters Del Barber and Richard Inman. It's an album of songs made during a time of reflection, a time to look back for a man who's constantly on the go. "When I started making records, the idea of the empty space of the Canadian Midwest informed the kind of songs I was writing. There's almost a sense of emptiness in my early songs. I wanted to reinstate some of that space with this record."