The Rickety Old Shack

Zachary Lucky — The Ballad Of Losing You (2019 Reissue)

album cover

I'm not sure why it is, but a record label based out of Sweden has managed to introduce me to Canadian musicians I was otherwise oblivious too. In addition to the acoustic duo Ulvesang (review, review), the country folk artist Zachary Lucky was brought to my attention as a result of Nordvis re-issuing his sixth full-length album, The Ballad Of Losing You. Country and folk are not genres I tend to follow very closely, I require prompting as I am otherwise barely able to keep up with the dipsarate metal genres that occupy most of my attention. It was the strength of the lead=off single, "Ramblin' Man's Lament," which drew me in and inspired me to check out the rest of the album. It was originally released in the tail-end of 2013, and this re-issue features a bonus track titled "Helsinki," but is otherwise unaltered.

The Ballad Of Losing You is a very minimalist record, featuring just enough instrumentation to carry an emotionally powerful narrative about love, loss, and the loneliness inherent to life on the road. The album isn't overly dour, but the lyrics of tracks like "Waitin' For The Day", or the story of a young father going off to war — and subsequently dying — in "Sun's Coming Up" are a sharp mix of concise and poignant. The pacing of the album is perfect, with an eb and flow to each cut without ever going faster than a casual stroll. Each track flows seamlessly into the next, making the album's 42-minute running time somewhat deceptive.

The production on The Ballad Of Losing You is really impressive. This is a very warm-sounding record with a strong analog feel, a noticeable contrast with modern, purely digital efforts. Zachary Lucky's voice sits perfectly atop the restrained acoustic guitars and sundry backing instrumentation which provides accents at critical moments. His knack for storyteller song writing is unmistakable, as each track on this record holds alot of emotional tension despite Lucky's melodic, matter-of-fact delivery. The minimalist arrangements put the focus squarely on Lucky's vocal charisma to carry the songs — a task of which he is exceedingly capable.

Feeling like a hybrid of a spoken-word album and a folk record, The Ballad Of Losing You is a captivating project. This is a sort of modern throwback; timeless stories from a new generation of narrator using an old school method. I really enjoy this record, not just as a novelty — a reprieve from the often cacophonous nature of my typical listening — but as a reminder that I need to seek out more material in this vein. I earnestly believe that everyone should give this album a chance, even if a country folk record wouldn't normally be in your wheelhouse.

Summary

A concise and poignant collection of country folk material, Zachary Lucky demonstrates significant skill as a musician and storyteller on The Ballad Of Losing You. Whether providing background music or something for the listener to intently focus on, this record is more than up to the task. The re-issue process brings new light to a an excellent record and includes a bonus track that easily could have been included on the original release. Beautifully melodic with strong accents of melancholy, I recommend this highly to anyone looking for a mellow, easy-going listening experience.

Album Information

Release date: June 28th, 2019
Record label: Nordvis Produktion

Zachary Lucky — guitars, vocals
Aaron Goldstein — pedal steel
Chris Prpich — bass
Benjamin Hadaller — banjo, dobro
Karrnnel Sawitsky — fiddle
Jonathan Anderson — piano

Track Listing

  1. Ramblin' Man's Lament
  2. Salty Air
  3. After All The Months We've Shared
  4. Woke Up
  5. More Than Enough Road
  6. Merry Month Of May
  7. Morning Words
  8. Come Back Around
  9. Waitin' For The Day (Townes Van Zandt cover)
  10. Sun's Coming Up
  11. Helsinki

Link: nordvis.bandcamp.com

—by Derek

Published: July 17th, 2019.