Hard-touring Zachary Lucky is the opposite of lazy
by Chris Morin
It’s been five years since Zachary Lucky quit his day job to pursue music full time. Since then, the Saskatoon-born musician has released several full-length albums — including his latest, The Ballad of Losing You, on the Guelph, Ontario label Missed Connection Records.
And when he’s not recording? Lucky is consumed with non-stop touring, which sees him spending months away from home as he travels from coast-to-coast. Nothing new: Lucky, who cut his teeth in Saskatoon’s all-ages punk scene, has been in opening acts that toured for nine months of the year. So when he booked his first cross-Canada tour in 2010, he booked 50 shows.
“It made sense to me because that’s what I saw other people doing,” says Lucky.
Hopefully he won’t see anyone juggling cobras.
This past fall, the folk singer made his first trip to the U.S. where he played several shows, including a showcase at the Folk Alliance Festival in Kansas. And on his latest trip, Lucky flew to Helsinki, Finland for what he describes as his most whirlwind tour yet.
“We had barely landed before I had to rush off to the first show, which was in this legendary rock venue,” says Lucky. “A lot of people had been asking me how I got that show, because apparently it’s hard to get booked there. I was opening for a band from Sweden that I had never heard before, and it was this massive room and there were 400 people there. And I was barely able to stand up from all the traveling. But it went really well and everyone was so kind.
“I’m not sure how much Canadian roots or folk music they get over there,” he continues. “But people in Europe seem to really appreciate music no matter what it is. Which is good when you fly halfway around the world and you have no idea what to expect.”
With lyrics that touch upon every facet of loneliness and longing, Lucky’s raw take on folk often touches upon the plaintive sound of prairie country music. While the majority of the songs on The Ballad Of Losing You are composed with a gently strummed acoustic and Lucky’s soft vocals, the occasional mournful twang of a slide guitar can be heard in the background.
Lucky began writing the album while he was holed up in Toronto for the Folk Alliance festival. House-sitting for friends, his entire day consisted of waking up, walking the dog, writing songs, walking the dog again, cooking supper and then going to bed — a process that, he said, contributed to the simple but heartrending qualities of the album.
But while The Ballad Of Losing You was recorded in rural Saskatchewan just over a year ago, Lucky says that he is already planning for his next full-length album. And, of course, another tour, which will see him cross Canada once again to Orillia, Ontario for the Mariposa Folk Festival.
“This current record is starting to get to the end of its lifespan, at least for me anyway. Everything has a set amount of time it can exist. I’ve started writing and have about half of the next record done. I’ve been talking to people out in Ontario to help me record. But as for the studio, I’m not sure when we will get back. I’m going to be spending some time touring in the States and I’m playing a festival in Nashville in September.
“It’s going to be another busy year.”