“Well, I’ve had two long months since I’ve been home. My feet are tired and brain is worn and my empty arms they long for you in my home on the Prairies when my rambling days are through.” – Zachary Lucky
Zachary Lucky has always had the knack for being able to paint a picture of what is “home” to him. From this opening line of his new record The Ballad of Losing You or the scattered references in his previous two records, Saskatchewan and Come and Gone, Lucky’s Saskatoon home, whether staying or leaving, continues to be a powerful muse.
Paired with the hardy twang in Lucky’s voice, the creaks of his acoustic guitar, and the wail from the pedal steel, compliments of Aaron Goldstein, all equalling an instrumental arrangement that is so physically descriptive on its own, Lucky is able to construct the physicality of the Prairies through his music. Listeners then, need not travel far to visit Lucky’s home themselves.
Further exploring the country side to his previously folk-country, heavy on the folk, sound, The Ballad of Losing You features a raw, throwback style of the country genre. In the ten songs, nothing is glossed over or made to be something it is not, rather, each track is honest and expressive with yes, that expression mostly being sadness.
“Ramblin’ Man’s Lament” begins the succession of unapologetic melancholy that is The Ballad of Losing You. Although a song more apparently drawing on the desire to go home, Lucky’s lament also speaks of another major topic in the new record: lost love. The sadness and longing that fills Lucky’s lament is one that is beautifully complemented, with the sounds of a fiddle for a haunting pairing and the perfect record introduction.
As one song blends seamless into the next, “More Than Enough Road” is a truly smooth number with Goldstein’s pedal steel taking you off into a reverie, “Merry Month Of May,” which is not very merry at all, has a nicely soft banjo inclusion, while the personal feeling “Morning Words,” tells the struggles that come with being a travelling musician for a little extra emotional hit.
In a slightly slowed down version of the original Townes Van Zandt song, who actually gets mentioned in various Lucky songs, “Waitin’ For The Day,” nicely ushers in the final song, “Sun’s Coming Up.” In an emotional love song, it becomes clearer and clearer that Lucky is a pro at tugging at the heartstrings with his music.
In a new beautiful collection of songs on home and heartbreak from the continually strong Zachary Lucky, settle down and find a home in being lonesome with The Ballad of Losing You.
The Ballad of Losing You is available on Bandcamp.
Top Tracks: “Ramblin’ Man’s Lament,” “Come Back Around”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)