Changing seasons, a Fall update; A new record and fall tour dates

“After the one extravagant gesture of creation in the first place, the universe has continued to deal exclusively in extravagances, flinging intricacies and colossi down aeons of emptiness, heaping profusions on profligacies with ever-fresh vigor. The whole show has been on fire from the word go. I come down to the water to cool my eyes. But everywhere I look I see fire; that which isn't flint is tinder, and the whole world sparks and flames.” 

― Annie Dillard

There is just something about this time of year - when summer turns to fall - and the dew seems to linger a little longer through the morning hours. It was a good summer - a busy one - but I felt like we worked hard and covered a lot of ground. I’m thankful for all of the shows that we got to play - from Ontario out to Saskatchewan and back. We got the chance to bring these songs to a lot of smaller communities that we hadn’t before. We also got to play at some great folk festivals along the way, Mariposa Folk Fest, The Regina Folk Fest and the Gateway Music Festival which was one of the first festivals that I had ever played at! We saw so many good friends and met many more over the course of the tour. It was definitely one for the books.

 It always takes me a while to adjust to being home. To get reacquainted with being in one place instead of a moving vehicle - to find beauty in the stillness of home rather than the views from a car window. It takes a while, but I get there. Then I begin to remember how to live like a normal person - shower once daily, make bread once a week - make an extra loaf for a friend to trade for ginger juice so you can fight off the cold that you got out on the road, go for a walk in the woods - you’ll feel better if you do. It takes time, but I get there. 

These days I am full of anticipation. Both for the changing of the seasons and the changes that life has for me. My partner and I have been waiting a good many months now, to meet the newest little addition to our family, and now we only have a matter of days left to wait - but alas we wait. Over the course of the past year or two, I have been working on writing new songs, never knowing quite how they will all fit together, but I’ve got a set of songs that feel like a record to me and within a months time I’ll be back in the studio to hit the record button. I’m really excited about recording these songs because I’m going to be joined by a couple of musicians that I’ve long admired. I’ll also be joined by a couple of longtime band members who’ve toured with me out on the road. All that record making news ain’t nearly as exciting as the first part. 

The next few weeks will be pretty quiet and spent around the home, but I’ll be headed back out on the road this fall starting with a brief stint at the Folk Music Ontario Conference in Toronto, ON. After which I’ll be playing some regional shows in and around Ontario during October, November, December, and a winter residency in my hometown on Orillia, ON. 

I’m excited to see where the coming months take me. Hopefully this road will cross our paths somewhere along the way. 

Thanks for following along folks,
Keep well and speak soon. 

Zachary
 

Fall Tour Dates

September 21 - Burk’s Falls ON - First Friday Coffee House
September 22 - Maynooth ON - The Arlington 
September 23 - Uxbridge ON - Second Wedge Brewing Co 
September 27 to 30 - Toronto ON - Folk Music Ontario Conference 
October 13 - Toronto ON - Barhop Sessions 
October 21 - Guelph ON - Guelph Roots House Concert w/ Scott Cook 
October 23 - Toronto ON - Cameron House w/ Richard Inman 
November 2 - Maryhill ON - Commercial Tavern 
November 3 - Sarnia ON - House Concert 
November 4 - London ON - House Concert 
November 9 - Ottawa ON - Few Acres Farm Concerts
November 10 - Montreal QC - Rick’s Room House Concert 
November 23 - Utopia ON - Utopia Community Hall 
November 24 - Port Carling ON - Muskoka Place Gallery 
December 1 - Gravenhurst ON - Sawdust City Brewing Co 
December 2 - Orillia ON - Zachary Lucky’s Songwriter Sundays, The Brownstone 
January 5 - Toronto ON - PH8 House Concerts
January 6 - Orillia ON - Zachary Lucky’s Songwriter Sundays, The Brownstone 
January 27 - Calgary AB - Speakeasy Garage 
February 3 - Orillia ON - Zachary Lucky’s Songwriter Sundays, The Brownstone

EAST TO WEST SUMMER TOUR, FISHING AND SONGS

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Hey folks

Long time no talk. I hope that this message is finding you all well, wherever the wind has blown you. It has been a busy spring around these parts. I've been picking and singing for folks all over the place - from New Brunswick to Amsterdam and back again. It has been one heck of a journey, and I remain so thankful for each day that I get to walk this path. I've been spending the past few weeks around the home front, tinkering on the house, hung up a new clothesline and sawed up the maple tree that came down last summer. I've been trying to get out on the river to fish a bit now and then too. Never enough time.  

Lately, I've found songwriting to be a lot like fishing. It takes patience. Practice. Sometimes it requires stubbornness and often involves a lot of trudging through the weeds to get to the good stuff. I’m excited to say that I have collected a handful of songs that we’re going to try and make into a record this fall. I reckon we’ll probably find a few more out on the road this summer. This summer we're going to be embarking on our "East to West" summer tour. It has been a while since I've hit the road during the summer months, but I'm looking forward to fishing the rivers and traveling the roads throughout Ontario, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. We'll be playing at the Mariposa Folk Festival, The Regina Folk Festival, and the Gateway Music Festival. If you're around the prairies, I sure hope we'll get to cross paths with you folks. Till we meet again - keep well and we'll see you down the line. 

Zachary

 


EAST TO WEST SUMMER TOUR
7/6 - Orillia ON - Mariposa Folk Festival
7/7 - Orillia ON - Mariposa Folk Festival
7/8 - Orillia ON - Mariposa Folk Festival
7/13 - Maryhill ON - Commercial Tavern
7/14 - Sarnia ON - Paddy Flaherty’s
7/15 - Midland ON - Little Lake Park
7/24 - Wawa ON - Rock Island Lodge
7/25 - ThunderBay ON - Live On The Waterfront
7/27 - Kincaid SK - Full Moon Tavern
7/28 - Bengough SK - Gateway Festival
7/29 - Bengough SK - Gateway Festival
8/10 - Cadillac SK - The Range Line Tavern
8/11 - Regina SK - Regina Folk Festival
8/12 - Regina SK - Regina Folk Festival
8/13 - Saskatoon SK - The Capitol
8/14 - Prince Albert SK - Keyhole Castle
8/15 - MacDowall SK - House Concert
8/16 - Brandon MB - House Concert
8/17 - Morden MB - Big Times In The Sun Catch
8/18 - Perrault Falls ON - Whiskey Jack
8/19 - ThunderBay ON - House Concert
8/20 - Rossport ON - Serendipity Gardens

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103 and too many miles to count.

103 shows and too many miles to count. Not even sure where to begin with all that has gone on this year. The past twelve months have been an adult dose of life. It has been a total juggling act and I feel like I’ve been through the wringer emotionally. I’ve had days and moments where I’ve felt so thankful and joyful for the situations that I’ve found myself in - I’ve also had days where I feel like I’m kicking a dead horse (for a lack of better metaphor). I’ve had days where I’ve felt the full range of emotions in just a few hours. What remains after all of the dust has settled is a heavy feeling of peacefulness and thankfulness - for the songs that keep coming - for the miles I’ve put behind me - for the friends that I’ve made along the way - for all of you friends and fans out there who keeping listening to these songs, buying the records and coming to the shows. When I quit my job slinging coffee in 2010, I’m not sure that I had any idea what life had in store for me - that eight years later, I would still be chasing this dream and working to make a life in music. I think that is how I want to start this. Thank - you everyone, for the part you played in making this year what it was. 

I think the thing that stands out most for me this year is all of the amazing opportunities that we encountered along the way. My band and I were able to perform 103 shows across Canada this year - which in the grand scheme of things, might not seem like that many, and it certainly isn’t as many as I use to do back in the old days - but things change - I value my time on the road - but I also value my time at home with my family. This year has been a test of sorts, to see how much I had to be on the road, to be self-sufficient and able to pay my band and my bills without relying on government funding (or very little funding). It meant that we had a lot of late nights and long drives and days where I felt like I was being stretched pretty thin - but we made it work. We got the chance to perform on some incredible stages - at The Dawson City Music Festival up in the Yukon, the North Country Fair in Alberta, the Live From The Rock Folk Festival in Northern Ontario, Cultivate Festival in Port Hope, ON. We also got the chance to play at some pretty huge country music festivals like the Dauphin Country Music Festival and the Havelock Country Jamboree - which honestly, made us feel a little out of place - but I think what that feeling really boils down to is being aware that you’re doing something original and unique. I’ve gotten that a lot this year - people saying that we’re doing something that really stands out - and singing songs that have their own vibe. I don’t think that we’re reinventing the wheel, but I do feel ultra proud of the songs we’ve been singing this year - I always find myself coming back to the Bowie quote where he talks about “not playing to the gallery” - I like to think that we’ve done a decent job of staying true to the course that we’re on - and making music that has its own voice.  What stands out most this year, was getting a nomination for best Solo artist of the year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards - right from the start, I was fairly certain that I was going to win the award - winning it wasn’t the victory. Simply the nomination was huge - up to this point in my career, I had never been nominated for an award - it felt good to know that someone in the folk and roots realm in Canada took note of the record we made back in 2016.

That brings me to my amazing band… Mitch Thomson (upright bass) and Kevin Neal (guitars). These two guys have been the cornerstones of my live shows throughout this year. I haven’t been able to bring them on every single tour that I did this year - but we covered a lot of ground together. We learned how to play together and really, how to put on a show together. A huge thanks to both of these guys for being a part of my year and for lending their talents and time to this band - for putting hours and work into these songs and for creating the vibe at all of the shows we did together. Honourable mention to Will Fisher for the handful of shows that we got to do together this year - and to my old pal Ian Cameron for the run of western Canadian shows we got to do together this year, it was a blast from the past and definitely a good time. 

This has been an interesting year of touring Everywhere A Man Can Be. By this point, those songs and that record are two and a half, maybe even three or four years old. It is always interesting to see how songs stand up over time. There are songs on that record that I didn’t really start singing until six months ago - others that I loved at the start but don’t sing that often now - but it is safe to say that all of those songs have grown in their own way. I think so often how funny it is that we write these songs, record them, and then tour them - and eventually two years into touring these songs you really begin to figure out what they are about. You write the songs, but eventually the songs write you and tell you what you really need to hear. 

I’ve spent my year on and off the road thinking a lot and feeling a whole range of feelings. I’ve had different narratives and stories bouncing around in my head for close to six months now and I am excited to finally have a few months around my home in Orillia to find time to sit down in front the microphone and start working on these songs. I already have six or seven songs that are done and a whole pocket full that are in the works. I see a lot of myself in this batch of songs - almost in an autobiographical sense. This might very well end up being a self-titled record. Ultimately, I am hoping to have a new record out in early 2019. These things take time though, and I want to make sure that I go about things the right way. I’ve spent this year growing a lot - and feeling all of the pains that come with growing. I think the next couple years are going to be no different. I’m ready for it though. 

After spending the winter months woodshedding, I’ll be shedding my winter skin by breaking some new ground with my first central European tour which will have us performing throughout Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and all around those parts. I think we’re going to be doing about fourteen or fifteen shows. For years I have wanted to tour my songs throughout these parts of the world, and I’m excited that we’ll finally be getting to chance to do so. I’ll be doing all of these Euro shows as a duo, with my good friend Duncan Symonds playing Dobro and Mandolin. Throughout the winter months I’ll be playing a few shows around central Ontario, including a monthly residency at the Sawdust City Brewery in Gravenhurst. If you’re around, I hope we’ll get to cross paths, and if not, I hope that you’re staying well and warm wherever these ramblings find you. 

Feel free to drop me a line at booking@zacharylucky.com, I’d love to hear from you folks. 

Till then - thank you for being a part of this! I can’t wait to see what next year has in store. 

ZL.

 

Our time in Dawson

Three planes and close to sixteen hours or travel - five provinces away and further north then I ever thought that I would venture. It is a long way to go to sing folk and country songs at a festival - but the Dawson City Music Festival is not just any festival - I had been hearing people talk about it since I started touring ten years ago. I had friends perform there and other friends go simply to get away and to see the North. Dawson is one of those places where people go to get away from it all and often - never come back. It wasn’t more then a few hours after we arrived that I heard someone say something that wouldn’t leave my mind the whole time we were there - in fact, it still hasn’t left my mind. I heard someone say “I can’t quite put my finger on it - why we all stay here. I came here for a summer and never left”. I knew we were in for an experience and an adventure.

Our time in Dawson started with me spending a day working with local songwriters, talking to them about my songwriting and my process as a songwriter. It was all at once nerve wracking and exciting - I had never spoken publicly about my experience as a songwriter, let alone “taught” a workshop. It felt good to try something new and to feel that nervous energy. It was great to watch two people who had little to no daily contact sit down and combine their thoughts and energy into a song that was in a way, both of their stories. It inspired me as a songwriter - and I know that someday there will be a song that comes from that river of inspiration.

We spent all day inside, talking about songs and songwriting - when the day was finally done I headed back to our friends house - tired and work out only to find them waiting with the car packed, dinner and all. They drove us an hour outside of Dawson, up the Dempster highway to the North fork of the Klondike river where I got to do something I’ve wanted to do for years - fly fish for Arctic grayling. Besides performing and writing songs, fishing is my true passion. In a way, touring and traveling around the country goes hand in hand with fishing. There is almost always a river near by, and it likely holds some kind of fish - whether I can catch them, that's debatable. We arrived at the river around 8:00 PM and fished early into the morning with the midnight sun still lighting the sky around us. It was almost surreal - the beauty of the landscape and the people who were around me - the fish we caught - the beers we were drinking - I was riding a high that I hadn’t felt in a long time. It was the kind of moment that fills a person's soul with all it needs - like a cool clean drink of water - we felt rejuvenated and ready for all that the North had for us. 

In Dawson during the summer the days and nights tend to blur. One moment you’re eating dinner at 8:00 PM and the next you look at your watch and realize that it is 1:00 or 2:00 AM and it looks exactly the same as it did earlier. We filled our week with adventures around the Arctic - fishing, and a trip up into Tombstone Territorial Park. I grew up hearing my Grandfather’s stories around the North and his time touring up and our time up there lived up to every one of those stories. The Dawson City Music Festival itself was incredible - we met so many great bands and made life long friends from all across the country - it had been a dream of mine for years to perform at the festival, and I’m thankful that I finally got the chance to do so. I finally know why so many people talk so highly of this festival and the Yukon.

Another three planes and sixteen hours of transit and were back in Ontario, hiding out for a few moments before heading back out on the road starting this week.  We’ll be playing shows in Collingwood, Gravenhurst, Wawa, Red Rock, Sault Ste Marie, Kinmount and Havelock over the course of the next month - including stops at the Sawdust City Music Festival, Live From The Rock Festival and the Havelock Country Jamboree. Once August is over things only get busier! We’ll be doing a month long residency at an old Toronto haunt of mine - The Local in Roncesvalles - performing there every Wednesdayin September, along with a whole swath of performances around Ontario and western Canada in September and October. 

Once again - I am so thankful that I get to do what I do - thankful for the four tires that keep on turning, for the songs that keep on coming and for all of you folks who keep following along on this journey. I hope that I’ll be coming to your part of the world sooner than later, but until then - be well and stay in touch,

Zachary Lucky

Leaving the prairies

There is something about the prairies that I’ll likely never be able to kick.  It’s something of a drug or an old memory that I keep coming back to.  That places is as much a part of me as I am of it.  I’ve left it time and time again, but I keep coming back, expecting - hoping that it’ll feel and look the way it use to when I was younger.  The streets seem wider then I remember them - all paths I use to walk to familiar places to see people who still fill the same seats they use to. The buildings aren’t as tall as I use to think they were, and everything seems a little more dusty then it was in my youth.  The prairies are like the old girlfriend you had in high school - the one where you knew it wouldn’t work out in the long run, but you stuck with each other till there was nothing left to hold onto.  Life moves on - we all grow, we all change, and every once and a while we left our minds sift through those piles of old memories - the people and places that we use to know. 

It felt good to be back in the prairies, to be touring solo again - just me, my guitar and those wide prairie highways.  I’ll never be able to kick those prairie sun sunsets - I’m convinced that the sun doesn’t float on the horizon quite the same where I’m living these days - the stars aren’t quite as bright either.  There is something really special in all of these little prairie towns that I got the chance to play on this run - Langenburg, Windthorst and Biggar. Even when there is only forty people in a theatre that holds a hundred, it feels more full then most packed bars in Toronto.  Maybe it’s that we’re all from the same place and we speak the same tongue, maybe there is just more common ground to go on.

All of these shows were special in one way or another.  To all the folks that I got to spend time with along the way, thanks for being a part of this tour and a part of what I’m doing.  I’m so thankful that I’ve been able to make this work for as long as I have.  Every tour and every show I’m able to do is something I’m thankful for - I certainly don’t take it lightly - and couldn’t do what I do without you folks. 

I’ll be back in the fall, hope I’ll see some of you when I come back around. 

Down the road,
Zachary

Sixteen shows in eighteen days

Sixteen shows in eighteen days - nearly 10,000 KMs of Canadian soil covered - it has been a while since I’ve toured that hard and heavy - and even still, I don’t know if I’ve ever played sixteen shows in a row. 

It was a long run - but good in so many ways.  I’ve gotten pretty comfortable being a homebody, and a tour like this is exactly what I needed.  To remember how it use to feel - to be on the road for months at a time - to wake up unsure of where you are - to be out there, on the road.  We started the tour with a pretty heavy drive from Toronto straight out to Manitoba - we drove hard and fast with few stops, except to gas up the van.  We picked up our drummer Will in Winnipeg, he opted to skip the first couple days of driving, which was probably a smart call on his part.  And just like that, we were off.  Onanole to Saskatoon with a quick stop at the Lucky homestead close to the Saskatchewan-Manitoba line, and on to Edmonton we went. 

Five provinces in two weeks - that had us driving over five or six hours a day and playing shows nearly every single night. Like any tour, there were good shows - bad shows - and bad shows that turned out to be great! If I’ve learned anything in the past few years of living on the road - its to go into these situations with an open mind and to hope for the best.  I’m not exactly an optimist, in fact I’m about as far from - but one has to try.  

Its the first time that I’ve ever really toured with a band - so in a way, I was completely out of my element.  Life is pretty easy on the road when all you have to do is account for yourself.  The shows felt good though, with the full band behind these songs - every member of the band - Will Fish on Drums, Dan Edmonds on Keys, Mitch Thomson on Bass and Kevin Neal on Pedal Steel - all brought their A game to these shows and gave the songs exactly what they needed.  I couldn’t have been more happy with how things went.  It was likely the most fun I’ve had out on the road - not the easiest tour - but in a way, the most successful run of shows I’ve ever had.  

By the end of the tour I was really beginning to feel it - all that road running and late nights and early mornings and one too many greasy diner breakfasts - we were playing in Kenora, ON - a show that I did not expect much from to be honest - we were the follow up to what appeared to be a fairly active trivia night - a hard act to follow. 

Half of the crowd stuck around for part of Dan’s opening set, and then made their way into the damp Kenora night - while the rest thankfully stuck around.  It was one of those nights where there could have been no one there and it would have felt just as good to be playing these songs with four good friends of mine - we were doing what we love.  After the show, a rather proper looking gentlemen (who a local later referred to as “The Lawyer”) came up to me and said “Well, I don’t think we’ll be seeing you play here again” - which is an odd thing to hear someone say to you - it leaves you wondering where that thought came from or why they felt the need to say it - he then followed it up by saying he knew that we’d be playing way bigger venues soon enough.  Wow.  I was completely flattered - and thankful that these songs could connect with that person - or with anyone for that matter.  Thats the reason I started doing this in the first place - for that connection with people.  Kenora went from being a “I wish we weren’t here” show to a “when can we play here again” kind of show.  

A lot of this tour was like that - it was full of new sights and sounds - and surprises around every single corner.  It made me miss the road - it made me thankful for my home - most of all it made me thankful that I get to do this for a living.  I owe all the thanks to you folks out there who made the effort to come to our shows - we had a lot of fun playing each night - but it wouldn’t have been half as fun without having you folks there with us.  

No fear - the tour isn’t over yet - if you live around central Canada - Ontario and Quebec, we’re going to be playing a whole handful of dates starting this weekend in Wakefield, QC at the Blacksheep Inn - then onto Picton, ON and so on.  For a full list of tour dates, simply glance to your left, or head over to http://zacharylucky.com/tour.  If you haven’t picked up your copy of my new record “Everywhere A Man Can Be” you can also do that over at www.zacharylucky.bandcamp.com or by listening on any streaming platform.  

Thanks for listening folks - and for being apart of this journey.  
To quote the great American band The eagles - Take it easy, 

ZL.

see you in october

Toronto to Saint Andrews, Fredericton, Sackville, Halifax and back.  A short but deceivingly long tour to do in just a few days - just you and a poor CBC signal, trying to keep track of the hours you’ve spent on the road.  I know a thing or two about being out on the road - although, I don’t know it like I use to. I use to thrive on the road - its where I was at my best and these days I long for my home life - my people - there was a time and place where the things at home never crossed my mind.  Now that time is just a memory.  

I feel like everything is coming full circle these days - somethings are beginning to feel new again - even though there are others that I know never will.  A lot has happened in the past few years, and it’s all coming to a head these days - like two forks in a river merging into one unstoppable torrent.  It has had me thinking about the past - where I have been and the streets of the town where I came from.  Saskatoon. 

Somehow it has been three years since I released The Ballad Of Losing You, and although I keep singing those songs - they’re feeling sung.  There are songs that are meant to live forever and songs that serve a purpose and many of those songs were there to get me through a time and a place.  They managed to bring me to where I am today, somehow - they needed to exist.  I think those songs are tired though.  We all need rest.  

I spent the last year or so - sitting with all that has changed - all that has come and gone - and all that has brought me to where I am today.  I wrote nine songs about the people and places that I met along the way - and the things that I felt.  These songs will likely need rest someday too - but for right now, they feel new and free - like being on the road makes a young man feel.  They're wanting to be sung and to be heard - and are longing for the road like I do after two or three months at home.

In October 2016, these songs will be released on CD and Long Play Records via Wroxton Recordings and I can’t wait for you to hear them.  They sound different then the last record - but still very much apart of me. I don’t know where these songs will take me, but I hope its to a good place.  I hope they’re songs that take you to good places too.   

Three years is too long to wait to put out a new record, but it’s also just long enough. 

See you in October,
ZL.

Just East of the Great Smokey Mountains...

Mornin’ fellow ramblers, 

Hopefully this note is finding you waking well with a hot cup of something in your hand! I’m writing you from a little hotel along the I-40, just east of the Great Smokey Mountains in North Carolina.  We’ve been having a hoot out here on the right coast, playing shows all along the eastern seaboard in cities like Boston, New York and D.C. and North Carolina. The past week has been better then I ever could have hoped for.  I’ve always hear from friends that the going is good around these parts, and its great to find out that the rumours are true! 

Today we start our journey West, first crossing those Great Smokey Mountains and making our way into Tennessee, Missouri and beyond.  

I'm especially excited to be performing on the Blue Plate Radio hour today! We’ll be playing a set of songs starting at 12:00 PM EST, and the best part is that you can tune in and listen live, right from your web browser! Head over to http://www.wdvx.com/live-shows-schedule/the-blue-plate-special/

After our time in Knoxville, we’ll be hitting the open road and headed towards Nashville town, and eventually up and around the midwest.  Its always great to get out and about down here in the States - and to be playing shows in new cities and meeting new people.  If you want to follow along, simply head over to https://www.instagram.com/zacharylucky/ for your tour photo fix! 

Happy trails folks, and hopefully we’ll see some of you along the way, 

ZL.

winter update

I often find myself here as of late, burning the midnight oil - watching a slide show in my mind - all of the place I’ve been, and the people whom I’ve met over the past seven or eight years doing this sing song thing that I do.  I’m haunted by highways - and all the faces I’ve seen.  I look at the past number of years and try to figure out how we’ve come from where we were when this all started - to where we are now, not that we’re anywhere of significance, but we’re definitely not where we started, you and I. 

Its taken a while for the winter to settle in here, out in Toronto.  It seemed to creep gently, but has slowly begun to flex its muscles.  Although its nothing like it is back home in Saskatchewan, it does make me long for strong spirits and a hot drink.  2015 was a good year to me, with more memories then my mind can hold, a lifetimes worth.  I got to go a lot with these little songs I write and got to sing them on some pretty huge stages in cities and countries I never thought I’d get the chance to. I’m a pretty thankful man these days.   If 2016 is half as good as this past year, I can only imagine what might happen.  

For the past two weeks I’ve been hunkered down in a little studio in Toronto, ON, with some good friends - new and old - putting pen to paper so to speak, working on a new record of songs that I’ve written over the past three years.  We’ve taken these little vignettes that I’ve scribbled on paper and turned them into so much more then I ever thought that could be.  Its been fun to see how people’s finger prints mark your art - in the best possible way.  Recording has always been this very personal experience for me, but this has to be the most intrusive record I’ve ever made.  We’ve really taken these songs and torn them apart to get a good look at them, then slowly - we’ve put them back together - piece by piece. Its been testing at times, but also the most rewarding recording experience I’ve ever had. I’m not too sure when these songs will see the light of day, but I hope sooner then later.  One can only hope.  

Although I don’t seem to be getting out on the road as much as I use to - I’m excited to announce that I’ll be doing some dates throughout the U.S. and Canada this winter and spring.  Starting in February we’ll be playing a handful of shows all around the Eastern and Midwestern United States - in some cities we’ve played before, and others in the East that are very new to us.  I’m not too sure what to expect with these big cities like Boston and New York, but as Levon said “you go to New York, and get your ass kicked, then you go home - let it heal up and go back and do it again”.  I’m sure it’ll be something along those lines! 

Come March I’ll be heading back to the Midwest of Canada to play a whole handful of shows around Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. It will have been the better part of a year by that point - so it’ll be a real treat to be back on some familiar roads, in cities that I know all too well.  Hopefully we’ll get to see some of your familiar faces too.  

I think its shaping up to be a good winter and spring thaw folks - and I can only hope that things are looking that way for you folks as well.  I sure hope that I’ll get to see some of you folks out there along the way this winter and spring.  

Keep warm wherever you’re spending your winter, and keep in touch.   

Zachary. 

November 21st 2014

The date was November 21st 2014.  By this point on our “potentially gruelling tour” we had been on the road for seventy two days.  I think we’d probably played about fifty or fifty five shows too.  We had been from Minnesota down to Nashville and straight across to New Mexico for one show and a night spent in Raton, NM simply because I liked the Townes song “Snowin’ on raton”.  From New Mexico, we made our way north through Colorado and back to Canada - before we headed to England for a couple of weeks.  Suffice to say, we had been a lot of places.  I don’t think I’d say that we were worn out, but I think we were definitely worn - maybe a bit road weary.  We had been through some ups and downs - but we were still all on good terms.  We’d been playing shows almost every night and by this point in the tour we knew our set inside and out - and most nights those notes and chords rolled off the end of our fingers with ease - other nights things were more laboured. 
On this particular day we were driving from Alberta straight out to Kelowna, BC for a show at the streaming cafe - I can’t remember if we were looking forward to getting to the coast or looking forward to getting home - either way, we still had too many shows left to even think about it.  I remember that drive feeling longer then normal.  We hit a lot of traffic too.  There was an accident on the highway, a semi flipped on its side. We sat and waited, with who knows how many other people - hundreds probably - sitting there, waiting.  Minutes turned into hours - and it got to the point where we almost thought we were not going to make it to the show at all.  We rolled into Kelowna about an hour late, but we went down to the venue anyways, and had a full house of people anxiously waiting.  We played a quick set.  Everything a little more rushed then normal - but we got through one more night - one more show - one day closer to home. 
After the show we got the chance to hang out at a really wonderful studio just outside of Kelowna.  One of those recording studios that is run by people who want to make music like people use to - with reels of tape and beautiful old recording consoles.  We set up our instruments and threw up a couple of microphones and set to playing a couple of the songs we had been singing on this tour.  I can remember sitting there in the same room with Chris and Ian, playing those songs, and hearing the sound of their guitars coming back through the headphones.  I could feel every single show that we had played - and ever single mile we’d driven.  It was one of those moments that goes too quickly - but also feels like a lifetime. Before I knew it we were packing up - it was 4 am and we had recorded and mixed two songs and sleep never felt as good as it did that night.
When I heard the songs a few days later, I couldn’t help but start thinking about releasing these songs somehow - they were a moment in time, captured on tape - that session captured exactly where we were at as a band by that point on the road - the exact way we sounded on stage for all 70 shows that we played.  When we heard that we were going to get the chance to sit down and record these songs that night, I don’t think we set out with anything in mind - no plans to release it and no idea what we might do with the songs, but I really feel like these are some ofmost organic and natural recordings that I’ve ever been apart of - and I’m super excited to share it with you all.  Hopefully you’re as excited to hear these songs as I am to share them with you folks. 
Because these songs were crafted in such an organic and natural setting I wanted to simply release them on vinyl - with a limited printing of 300 units - no iTunes or streaming.  I wanted these songs to remain tangible - I wanted them to be something you could hold in your hands. There is something about knowing only 300 of you folks will have this special time capsule. Hopefully you folks like the songs - and thanks for keepin’ along on this long road I’m walking down.

Copper Kettle, Dublin Blues and a few other UK stories

Hello from Heathrow airport friends! 

I hope this note is finding you all well.  Its crazy how quick time flies - one second you’re trying to wrap your head around spending the next month of your life wandering around and performing in the UK, and the next you’re packing your bags and getting ready for whats coming next!

I’m glad to say that it has been a great month for us here in the UK - its been everything that a tour should be - good, challenging and eye opening.  I had a great time getting the chance to perform at some great festivals such as Wilderness, Latitude, Cloudspotting, and Wickerman.  Every town we got to visit and every day we were here felt like its own lifetime.  We’re a little road weary and a little ragged - but very well and excited to touch our toes on Canadian soil tomorrow morning! 

Back in November 2014, amidst what Exclaim! called a "potentially gruelling tour", 65 shows in three countries over the course of three months and after the better part of 50 shows and 20 000 kms driven, we got the chance to record two songs at a studio nestled in the hills around Kelowna, British Columbia - the semi-traditional tune “Copper Kettle” which we learnt from a Bob Dylan bootleg recording and Dublin Blues which was written by the living legend Guy Clark. 

I'm very excited to say that Exclaim.ca is streaming these songs for your listening pleasure! http://exclaim.ca/Music/article/zachary_lucky-zachary_lucky_sings_dublin_blues_copper_kettle_7-inch_stream

And because we were so happy with how this sessions turned out, I decided to press a very limited number of copies on vinyl - only 300 will be available - so get your copy while you can. You can pre order your copy of "Zachary Lucky sings Copper Kettle and Dublin Blues" at https://zacharylucky.bandcamp.com

The 7' will be officially released on September 4th! Stay tuned for American, Canadian and UK tour dates this September, October and November.

Until then, keep well, get outside, and enjoy those you have around you! 
One more from the road,
Zachary

long past due; thunder bay to winnipeg

Its a mighty weird feeling to drive across the country - to go from one place to another, and to be in all of these towns and cities that you haven’t been in for a long time.  With all of the miles and time that I’ve spent on the road, every little town and all the space between, holds a lot of memories for me.  

I just pulled into Winnipeg Manitoba.  This was one of the first cities I ever played in that wasn’t in Saskatchewan, so coming here always conjures up memories of when I was younger, the people I knew back then, and the shows we played just for the heck of it - just because we loved it - and just because we wanted to be on the road.  

This is day number five on the road for me, and after largely being stagnant for the past few months, I can sure feel it.  Although I’ve been doing this for quite sometime, and have learnt how to survive on the road - one can lose that all when they sit still for too long - like the classic saying, “if you rest you rust.” So one could say, I’ve been shaking off the dust the past few days, and it feels good.  

Although I’ve been on the road for five days, I’ve only played three shows so far - Sault Ste Marie, and two nights in Thunder Bay.  Its been fun, especially being in Thunder Bay for two nights in a row.  A lot of folks who don’t live in Thunder Bay (and even those who do) often complain about that city, but I have to say that I feel quite the opposite.  I like that town a lot.  There is a certain grit, character, and history to that place.  I feel like the streets and corners of that town have a lot of stories to tell - as do the tree lined shores of Lake Superior.  Its a magical and overlooked part of Canada, and I always love crossing across that stretch of highway and basking in the wilderness that lies upon those shores.  

It has been a good few months for me.  A lot of changes have come about in my life - and I have to say that I don’t think I’ve felt this well for a long time.  Seven weeks ago, my partner and I got to welcome our first child into the world, a little girl! Its been the most amazing couple months for us, from seeing her come into this world, and change so much so quickly.  I reckon she’ll probably keep changing just as much every week, for a long - long time.  We’ve been all learning a lot from one another these days - getting sleep when we can - and enjoying every second between.  She’s the sweetest little human that I’ve ever met, and I can’t wait to see who she becomes! Life has been so good - I’m a lucky man to be where I am.   

Life doesn’t seem like it’ll be slowing down any time soon though.  We’re going to be hitting the road a ton over the summer and into the fall.  I’m going to be performing at a whole handful of festivals this summer - some in Canada, and five in the UK including Wilderness, Latitude, Wickerman, Somersault, and Camp Bestival! Once we get back from the UK we’re going to take a few moments to rest up before we hop in the bus and hit the road for a string of 40 tour dates across the US and Canada during September and October.  We’re going to be making stops all across the Northern US and all across Canada in support of a new 7’ vinyl that I’ll be putting out on September 1st entitled “Zachary Lucky sings Dublin Blues and Copper Kettle” which features two covers - one song that is written by Guy Clark, and the other by Albert Frank Bedoe - but best known via Bob Dylan. I recorded these tunes with a couple of my favourite musicians I’ve had play with me - Ian Cameron on Pedal Steel and Chris Sleightholm on electric guitars.  We got the chance to hop into the studio last fall while we were on tour, late one night after our show in Kelowna, to track these two songs - and they turned out so good that I decided to put them out on vinyl for you folks! Hopefully you’ll like them as much as I do.  Pre orders for this album will be available starting in July - and the album officially comes out September first - so stay tuned for more details.  

Until then - I hope that you folks keep well, enjoy your summer - be sure to get outside a bunch and find your summer skin.  Go jump in a lake or river, sleep under the stars or go fishing.  Its good for your soul folks.  Thats what we’re going to be doing as much as we can, so I hope you can too.  

Keep well friends - stay in touch and don’t be a stranger,
Zachary

cold kitchens in ontario.

dear friends,

I hope that this note is finding you all well and warm wherever you are! I'm keeping well - although I have to admit that the last tour we did in 2014 definitely took a lot out of me.  I've been recovering in the big ol' smoke that is toronto - spending my days in cold kitchens and walking around streets I don't know that well. my mornings are often slow these days, and my nights early.  I've been listening to a lot of fred eaglesmith and john fahey; reading bukowski and a book that I bought last year called 'consolations of the forest'.  

after spending over an entire year on the road, constantly moving and playing shows, or booking more shows to play - its been a challenge learning how to sit still and how to be ok with being in one place for more then a day at a time.  but I'm learning that lesson, one day at a time.  

no fear - 2015 is looking to be an interesting year.  some years are for big changes, and others for smaller - slow moving changes.  I reckon thats what this year is all about. I'm going to be spending a handful of time around ontario working on the next album which will hopefully see the light of day sometime in 2016. and we're also going to be releasing two songs that we recorded back in november - sometime in the summer sort fall of this year.  
  
I'm currently getting ready to play a handful of tour dates around ontario and eastern canada - including stops at three festivals; Shivering Songs Music Festival in Fredericton, Stereophonic Music Festival in Sackville, and the In The Dead Of Winter Music Festival in Halifax. if you live around those parts, then I'm hoping we'll cross paths this week or next! for more details on the tour dates head over to www.zacharylucky.com 

until then, hope that you folks are keeping warm and that you're with the people enjoy - that you're doing good and keeping well. 

from chilly toronto,
zachary. 

words from the road part ii

rolling east on the I84 in Oregon.  not too sure where I’m coming from or where I’m going to.  from one dirty hotel room to another - every thing looks the same, yet different.  every bar room resembles the next.  you have the same conversations over dark liquor about how icy the roads are or how unseasonably cold it is in the pacific northwest.  I love how mundane yet exciting it can be to be on the road.  you get into this routine - especially when you’re touring with two other people - where by the end of the tour you can also finish each other’s sentences.  you never quite realize how attached you’ve grown until the last day comes round.  I’m not going to think about that yet though. five more shows to go, and good 2000 or so kilometres till we’ll be rolling into Saskatoon.
I have to say that I’ve been really enjoying the past few weeks.  from the prairies through Alberta and British Columbia and down into Washington and Oregon.  every night has been its own thing.  different towns and different folks.  we were talking last night - I think we’ve spent almost a month and a half in the united states on this tour.  everyday everything is new to our eyes. 
I see trees, and a train running fast and hard.  I hear John Fahey’s guitar in my ear and smell the smoke from Ian’s cigarette drifting in to the backseat.  its all moving a little too fast right now.  thats how it goes every time we leave, every time that we head out on the road.  at the start it feels as though it’ll never end.  minutes feel like hours and the end seems years away.  the closer you get to the end though, the faster it approaches.  minutes feel like seconds, and the yellow lines pass more quickly then before.  your set of songs feels like mere minutes and you’re holding onto every chords, trying to squeeze the most of every note - because you know you’ll never be back in this bar - in portland - with these two people by your side - and basically no one listening.  it’ll never be the way it is now, ever again.  that feeling of nostalgia sits in, and you’re still days away from home.  
every day I'm out here, I'm more and more thankful for the path I've been walking.  excited about where I'm going.  

keep well and warm,
ZL. 

words from the road...

fifty six days on the road and thirty three days left to go. we've been everywhere from Regina Saskatchewan all the way down to Nashville Tennessee - over to Raton New Mexico and across to England and Scotland. we've seen more then most eyes get to see in a lifetime and felt just as many emotions. some good days and some bad. some shows where the words fall off your lips free and easy and others where the songs are harder to sing then they should be. you have these moments out here on the road where you want nothing more then to just keep on the path that you're on - to keep pushing forward - when things are going great. then you have these days where the world feels like it's coming down on you and don't see a familiar faces anywhere you look - you don't even recognize yourself in the mirror. you have these days where you feel everything and somedays where you feel nothing at all. we've seen it all in the past two months.

It feels all at once refreshing, comforting and sad to be heading west today. feels good to be headed toward some familiar places and people. when you're on a tour like this - you always encounter the moment that is today. where you've been heading east for so long - you've been headed that way since you first imagined doing these shows - you never really consider what you'll feel when you turn around and head the other way or how every passing show brings you closer to the end, closer to whatever comes next.    

I can soundly say that it feels good. to be headed west - headed for what's next. 

I'm thankful for this road that I'm on. for the good days and hard moments. for the people that I'm sharing it with. thanks to everyone who has been apart of this tour thus far. we couldn't have done it without you folks. the rest of you - hopefully we'll see you further down the road. 

keep well and warm friends. 

there comes a certain point on tour, when you've been on the road for a week or two, and you get over the initial sting of being on tour - you get use to not having your own bed or kitchen and remember that you can survive out here. your body adjusts. your mind remembers not to think too hard about what is going on around you - that you've driven through four states in the past four hours and that you'll be in other three in the next few days. days turn into nights and nights into mornings. from bar rooms in cities you never thought you'd ever visit to the floors of people you've never met before. one day at a time. 

I have to say, I think that this is the tour that I've been hoping to be apart of for quite some time now. so many parts of it, just the sheer number shows were getting to do, in the US and the UK is unreal. it's hard to process as one complete thought really. it's also such a treat to be on the the road with a couple of the most talented and humble guys I know. it's always nice to be traveling with like minded people. it keeps you anchored in a way. reminds you of where you came from, and often keeps you level and thinking straight when things go sideways. 

so far this tour is been a total mixed bag of shows. some shows that I've been waiting my whole life to play and some I might like to forget. both equally as important. from Regina to Minneapolis to St. Cloud and Madison, Chicago and Bloomington. Going to Nashville and performing a couple times at the Americana music festival was a huge thing for each of us - we all had our own reasons for why it was so special - but I think it's safe to say that playing in Nashville for the first time was a huge thing for us, no matter how you cut it. we went to Nashville, played two good shows, drank too many cheap beers at Roberts, and saw the relics of our heros at the country music hall of fame. Nashville was magical and I can't wait to go back and do it all over again. there is definitely something about that town. there's an energy to it. like all of the ghost of those timeless country stars are walking beside you as you walk the streets. 

each night has been special in its own way. each town has a story to tell and things to learn. we've already met our fair share of great folks down here, which makes me only more excited for the next week and a half. I feel alive and free down here right now. it feels good. wish you folks all get to feel this same feeling at some point. I hope we get to see you all at some point in the next couple months. thanks for reading and supporting us on this road. we couldn't do this without you folks.

keep well. soak up the fall.
Zachary, Ian and Chris.

summer has come and gone and we're goin' a ramblin'

Its a mighty strange feeling, waking early in the morning, and counting the days - hours - minutes till you’ll be leaving this town.  This place you’ve grown into.  And then thinking about all of the places that you will grow into, all the faces you’ll see and songs you’ll hear out there on the road.  Its all at once exciting and unknown.  
Its been a pretty hefty summer.  Days in Saskatoon, days in Toronto.  I have to say that life has been good to be and has not ceased to surprise me around every bend.  Its nice to grow older and know that life can still pull a number of you, and deal you cards that you never saw coming.  Its been a long time since I’ve felt this way.  

Its come that time again though.  Time to head out on the road and do a li’l rambling of my own.  To play songs for folks in some different towns, to see things my eyes have never seen.  To get lost out there.  

I’m excited to say that we’ll be doing a massive tour this fall, playing over 50 dates half in the US and half in Canada - as well as handful in the UK sandwiched between those two runs.  Nashville, Chicago, London, Montreal, so on and so on.  We’re in for a real treat.  I’m also excited to say that I’ll have the talent of Ian Cameron on Pedal Steel Guitar and Chris Sleightholm on the Electric Guitars with me for the whole tour.

Hopefully you folks will be able to make it out to a show or two!  
Soak up the last bit of summer folks, she’s leaving just as quick as she arrived.  

- Zachary Lucky 

Tuesday September 9th - Regina, SK (O'Hanlon's)
Thursday September 11th - Minneapolis, MN (The Aster Cafe)
Friday September 12th - St Cloud, MN (The Red Carpet)
Saturday September 13th - Madison, WI (Willy St Festival)
Sunday September 14th - Chicago, IL (Elbo Room)
Monday September 15th - Bloomington, ID (Players Pub)
Thursday September 18th - Nashville, TN (The Americana Music Festival)
Friday September 19th - Nashville, TN (The Americana Music Festival)
Monday September 22nd - Kansas City, MO (House Concert)
Tuesday September 23rd - Wichita, KS (Public @ The Brickyard)
Thursday September 25th - Toas, NM (Taos Ale House)
Friday September 26th - Colorado Springs, CO (The Loft)
Saturday September 27th - Denver, CO (Walnut Room)
Sunday September 28th - Fort Collins, CO (Forge Publick House)
Monday September 29th - Laramie, WY (Coal Creek Coffee)
Tuesday September 30th - Omaha, NE (O'Leavers)
Wednesday October 1st - Lincoln, NE (Duffy's Tavern)
Friday October 3rd - Winnipeg, MB (Breakout West)
Saturday October 4th - Winnipeg, MB (Breakout West)
Wednesday October 8th - Cleveland, OH (Wilbert's Food and Music)
Sunday October 12th - London, UK (Servants Jazz Quarters)
Friday October 17th - Sheffield, UK (Riverside Cafe)
Wednesday October 29th - Montreal, QC (Casa)
Thursday October 30th - Wakefield, QC (Blacksheep Inn)
Friday October 31st - Peterborough, ON (The Spill)
Saturday November 1st - Gravenhurst, ON (Currie Brothers Church Show)
Sunday November 2nd - Toronto, ON (The Cameron House - Backroom)
Monday November 3rd - Hamilton, ON (Homegrown Hamilton)
Wednesday November 5th - Guelph, ON (ANAF)
Thursday November 6th - Windsor, ON (Phog Lounge)
Saturday November 8th - Minneapolis, MN (House Concert)
Sunday November 9th - Wabigoon, ON (Green Archers)
Monday November 10th - Winnipeg, MB (The Handsome Daughter)
Friday November 14th - Saskatoon, SK (The Bassment)
Saturday November 15th - Lloydminster, AB (The Root)
Monday November 17th - Edmonton, AB (Wunderbar)
Thursday November 20th - Calgary, AB (Wine Ohs)
Friday November 21st - Cochrane, AB (Legacy Guitars)
Saturday November 22nd - Kelowna, BC (Streaming Cafe)
Sunday November 23rd - Vancouver, BC (Juniper Room)
Tuesday November 25th - Bellingham, WA (Green Frog Acoustic Tavern)
Wednesday November 26th - Seattle, WA (LoFi)
Friday November 28th - Zigzag, OR (Skyway Bar and Grill)
Monday December 1st - Bend, OR (Volcanic Theatre Pub)
Tuesday December 2nd - Portland, OR (Valentines)
Wednesday December 3rd - Pendleton, OR (Great Pacific Wine and Coffee Co.)
Thursday December 4th - Republic, WA (Republic Brewing Company)
Friday December 5th - Fernie, BC (Clawhammer Press)
Saturday December 6th - Lethbridge, AB (The Owl)

toronto, to helsinki and back again.

April 15th 6:23 pm on flight to Helsinki 

I'm writing this while on my way to Finland. I don't really have any concept of time or place, where I've been or where I am going. I can't really figure out how long I've been in transit either. 
Last night Clayton and I parted ways after having one last beer in Toronto. He flew home and I boarded a plane to London England. The flight to England didn't take nearly as long as I thought it would. I got seated next to a nice English gent named graham. His father lived in Canada towards the end  of his life and thus he returns twice a year to see friends and in his fathers memory. We ended up talking for a good bit. About our lives and what we do - our countries and the places were from. It's always such a treat to run into someone like this when you're out and about. So unexpected but also so memorable. 
I didn't get much sleep last night. I thought I'd be able to sleep a good bit of the way. But I tossed and turned and couldn't find slumber. I maybe had my eyes shut for an hour. Today was a write off. Stumbling around heathrow like a zombie. Trying to make sense of all the sights and sounds. It was definitely a long seven hours in the airport. 
I wish you could see what I'm seeing now. We just flew off the coast in England and now were above the ocean. The sun is bright. And I can see ships and vessels on the water below. Making their way to god knows where. I don't have a clue where I am going either to be honest.
I really hope things work out in Finland. It's not that I doubt they will. But I think it's in our human nature (or at least in mine) to have doubts when you're doing something new. Singing for new people. Going somewhere new. Meeting new people who are from totally different walks of life. It's all good really - I know that this is what I should be doing. It's good to remind oneself of that when you're in the thick of it. One foot in front of the other. 

 

April 16th, day one. 

After arriving in Helsinki around midnight, I met my host and tour manager Fredde.  Fedde is the reason that these shows happened. He booked everything and made it all work and for that I can't thank him enough. 
We drove back to Turku from the airport that night, it's about an hour and a half at night when there is not much traffic on the roads. I had been up for a whole day by that poin and was fairly delirious beyond tired. We got to Fredde's home in Turku around 2:00 am or so. And the tour of his home was brief because we were both so tired that we couldn't possible stay up any later. He quickly showed my home for the next week to me and just as quick I fell asleep. I remember sleeping hard in that dark basement that night, I don't think I even tossed or turned. 

 

April 17th, day two. 

I remember waking up multiple times the first morning. Realizing that my alarm was still on London time and not Helsinki time. My alarm didn't go off, but eventually I rolled out of bed, showered - just in time for us to hit the road to Helsinki for the first show. Everyone kept saying how important the first show was, in Helsinki in one of Finland most famous and oldest rock clubs called the Tavestia - I didn't think too much of it really. Most venues, important or not, are just another stage to me. I think it's the people involved, the audience, that make the show and the place great. One thing Fredde told me though was that back in the 90s Townes Van Zandt had played on the same stage at the Tavestia, among other great artists that we all know. I was pretty excited when I heard that. 
I remember feeling quite nervous when I arrived at the club. I was shaky to begin with, my hands and my mind. Everything felt upside down by that point. We got there during the headliners sound check, and it sounded great. I later got to meet the gents in the Weeping Willows and mostly their frontman Magnus. They're a pretty famous group from Sweden and I have to say that they were some of the nicest and most welcoming people I had ever met.
Soundcheck went good. It was a good sounding room.  They told me that they had sold 400 tickets for that show and that did nothing but add to my shakiness. We ate and talked for a while and I spent the rest of the time before the show pacing in the green room until it was show time. 
I remember walking out on that stage feeling totally weak, mentally and physically, it felt like the feeling you get at the end of a long run, when you hit that wall and you just have to keep going. It's hard to remember how things really went, but I remember things going pretty well.  It took me a couple of minutes to find my bearings, but soon enough the room had filled up and I was singing a Townes song on a stage where he probably sang the same song.  It was a pretty big relief once I was done performing.  First shows of tours are always like that. If you can make it through the first show and have it go half decent, you'll make it through the rest of the tour. 
 

April 18th, day three. 

After the show in Helsinki we packed the van up and headed back to Turku where I would be playing the next night. I remember having a pretty quiet day again. I can't quite remember what all I did in Turku that day, but I'm pretty sure I used the day to catch up on sleep. I don't know if I was quite ready to tackle wandering around my first Finnish town alone. I hadn't quite gotten in the mindset yet. 
We got to the nights venue, bar kuka, fairly early. It was a smaller bar room. A bar room that you'd find in any city you visit. Young people and older people too. I'm trying to think of a similar venue that it reminds me of... Maybe similar to the front room at the Cameron house in Toronto or maybe the owl in Lethbridge. Either way, I liked it. It was more similar to what I normally play compared to the 800 seat tavestia - not to say that I didn't enjoy that. 
The room filled up quick and before I knew it the show had rolled around. I felt a lot better going into this show. Not sure what was so different. But either way, the show went so well. It might have been one of my favourite shows from the tour. People listened. And people talked. The atmosphere was just right and the songs felt right and made sense there. I played a fairly long set. Everything felt a little more in place. I had great conversations with people there. An older gent. A younger couple. I felt at home. 

 

April 19th, day four. 

I think it was on this day that I finally worked up the gusto to go out and explore Turku. I wasn't sure how I'd find the city or if it I would be my speed. But I think that I took to it more then the couple of hours I spent in Helsinki. It was smaller. Smaller streets and a river running right through the centre of town. An old church on the one end of downtown and a castle on the other that I think is one if the oldest buildings in Finland. Everything was historic and beautiful. I listened intently to the people. And the sound of the city rustling around me like leaves in the fall. 
It just reminded me that my favourite way to experience a city is to sit and breathe it in and to soak in the sounds that surround you. The voices and words that you don't understand as the soundtrack to the film you're watching. Everything jumped off the page, like words from your favourite book.  
That night we were set to play in Loimaa, which I was told was a smaller town. Rural. For most of the shows on this tour we were traveling around in Fredde's old Renault van. I'm not quite sure how old it is. But it's old enough to not have seatbelts and to be a crank start. Quite a hilarious tour vehicle. I loved it. The van could only go about 70 km per hour so the relatively short drive to Loimaa ended up taking a little longer then usual. We stopped to cool the engine down at one point because it had started to over heat. 
When we did finally make it there, it all made sense what people were saying. Loimaa was a small town, just like the small towns we have back home. It was a Friday night and people were driving around the centre of town in their old cars. The bar I was playing, bar Edgar was already relatively full and was rotating between playing metal and pop songs. It was one of those situations that you don't wake up and plan to find yourself in. In a way it was great. 
Playing I'm Finland was quite interesting because I'd get on stage, start playing, mostly with my eyes closed and by the end of the song I open my eyes to find most of the bar standing in front of me, listening and applauding evening though some of them might not understand a thing I'm saying. Every audience I played for was so enthusiastic and kind it was almost overwhelming. Even at bar Edgar in Loimaa, that's how things went. I played to the small town crowd and ended up playing two encores that night. So far Finland was three for three.  The show went fairly late and by the time we were done, the past few days of running around had caught up with us. We loaded out into Herman (Fredde's Renault) and made the slow trek home to Turku. 

 

April 20th, day five. 

Turku to Loimaa and back to Turku. This day was set to be a busy one. From the get go. Fredde spends most of his time (When he is not being convinced by a random Canadian to go on tour) running his own record shop in Turku, and today was record store day. He had asked if I would play some songs in the afternoon to help celebrate record store day and how could I ever say no! Myself along with a great Finnish artist from Tampere - Joose Keskitalo filled the shop with songs. I also ended up getting a great little treat for record store day, a limited edition pressing of Townes van Zandt live at the whole cafe in Minnesota. If you ever happen to find yourself in Turku, make sure you visit Fredde at 8raita. Tell him I sent you. 
After all was said and done with record store day, we loaded up in the Renault and hit the road for Fredde's home town of Parainen. A smaller town nestled on the coast of the Baltic Sea. It was always interesting going into these smaller town shows, because in larger cities things can be somewhat predictable. But you get to the smaller town venues and you're never sure what to expect. We loaded in, I think we were a little late to begin with or something, I remember being on edge a bit. But we got there and saw there room. It was a beautiful little theatre. Maybe 100 seats total or something like that. But I thought it was perfect, for what I do anyways. We set up and sound checked and met the opening act, a local Celtic group called tailsway, they sounded great - so much so that I felt fairly nervous to be playing after them. When it was finally my turn to hit the stage, they announced who I was and that I was from Canada and I was greeted with what was surely the most warm Finnish welcome I had the whole tour. I hadn't seen how many people were there prior, but the place was packed and these folks were excited to see me play despite their not having a clue who I was! It was incredible. Parainen ended up being my favourite show of the tour. I still feel so very fond of that show when I think back. 
And if I thought the night couldn't better, I was wrong. We made the short drive out to Fredde's cabin on the Baltic Sea, lit the woodstove, drank and ate, and talked and sang. I met some truly great folks that night. Fredde was so exhausted that he passed right out, I wasn't too far off either. I felt drunk on Finland, intoxicated in its beauty. The beer was working too. 

 

April 21st, day six. 

This was to be the longest day of the tour. From Parainen to Vaasa. The longest drive of the tour which amounted to about 350 kilometres. We traded the Renault for a car that could drive faster then 60 and hit the road. We took are time, took some back roads. Saw some more of the Finnish country side. The further north we went, the more of a prairie we saw. There were lots of small towns. And houses that people had simply left because the work had all dried up. It was saw to see all of those houses standing there, in the country, with no one to live in them. It makes a musicians mind start turning. 
We eventually made it up to Vaasa to the Irish pub where I was to be playing, and to no surprise, it was like every other Irish pub I had been to, and the bar tender was from England. In a weird way, it felt like home. It could have been o'hanlons or any other place I've been before. The folks up there were especially nice. The sound guy - the staff, Fredde's friend jerry who is also a country singer. I also ended up meeting an American gent, around my age from Philadelphia, I think he was a soccer player who was over there playing. I reckon he'd come to the show because he heard I was Canadian. We revelled in a full Anglo conversation. Talking about our respective experiences in Finland. And it turns out we both were fairly in love with the place. 
The show went about how it should, the songs seemed to fit in that place despite the odd drunk person being thrown out of the bar, right in front of the stage. Maybe that made the songs feel all the better, it's hard to say. 
I remember feeling tired but not wanting to give in, we drank until the bar closed that night, till they wouldn't let us. I wanted to soak in every last drop. The taste and the smell, the sounds, everything that was Finland. I felt tired. From the Canadian shows, and from the amazing time I had touring around and singing for folks in Finland. I felt tired. But good. I slept hard that night. 

 

April 22nd 1:05 pm bus from Turku. 

Just got on the bus in Turku. Tour is over and and all of my songs have been sung in Finland. Feels weird to be leaving this town, Turku. It's been my home for the past few days. I've only been here for a week but it's been a very intense seven days. Shows every single day, sometimes two shows. Constantly seeing new things and meeting new people. My sight feels refreshed. And despite how tired I really feel from the last week of shows, I feel refreshed and new. 
I think that it's been years since I've felt this way. Since I moved to Australia. Just goes to say that we should probably all get on a plane once and a while, and go somewhere we don't know the language. It's good to get out of our comfort zones sometimes. 

Thanks for the good times Turku. I'll most likely see you sooner then later. Now for some time in Helsinki before leaving! 

 

April 23rd 10:16 am bus to terminal two, Helsinki Airport.

Helsinki was everything and more I expected it to be. At first I thought I might stay in Turku another day but when a friend of a friend of a friend, kept offering to show me the city I thought that I better go see it. 
I'm at this point, on this trip especially where I'm realizing how important things like this are on tour. To not just check into the venue and play the show but to also be in the city and among the people. To flow in the current on a city. And we did that in Helsinki. We saw the city on the seat of a bicycle. The oldest church, Parliament, the sea from multiple places. Drank beers in some Helsinki park (a giant rock).  Apparently all Helsinki is built on rocks and they've slowly been getting rid of them. Ate dinner at a falafel place called fafas. And got to meet some more of Jenni and Veera's friends, really nice folks. Ended the night on some Helsinki beach. Drinking the last of the beers we had. Listening to the water. And the pulse of the city.  
There is something really beautiful and creative about this city. I can't pin point it right now. I might have to come back a second time to really figure out what it is. 

 

April 23rd 1:09 pm New York time. Plane from Helsinki. 

I've been once plane home from Helsinki for some time now. We're currently flying over goose bay Labrador. Another place I can say I've seen from the air. The time change is quite difficult to process tat the moment. 8:09 pm in Helsinki and merely 1:09 pm in New York. A flight like this gives a person lots of time to think. Quite possibly too much time. I've already begun to think about how I can get back to Finland and Europe sooner then I had originally planned. 
I'm really trying to envision how the next few weeks will go, and what it'll be like to be back playing shows in Canada and the drive home, and what is waiting for me there. It's all hard to say at this point, but I reckon It will end up as a very quiet summer. 

April 7th 2014

Dear friends.  

I'm currently waking slow here in Toronto.  The sky is overcast and so is my mind - in a good way - a reminder of a great night before.  Its crazy to think just how fast this tour has been going - I think there are only five Canadian dates left and then I'll be hopping on the plane and flying to Finland.  Time flies when you don't stop to look at all the small details.  Its been another amazing journey so far though! 

I'm fortunate enough to have my good friend Clayton Linthicum (who you might know from Kacy and Clayton and the Deep Dark Woods) out and about with me, picking the guitar - and Tyler Belluz playing the big bass fiddle for all of the Ontario shows.  Its such a treat to have such nice folks out on the road with you.  I definitely love the freedom of touring alone - but having folks like these gents definitely makes the hard times a little easier and the good times all the better.  Not to mention they're both amazing players in their own right - Its been fun playing these songs with Tyler and Clayton and sort of taking a different approach and looking at them from a different angle.  Its pretty easy to keep playing songs a certain way for a while - and its always refreshing to bring other musicians into the mix.  

The first couple of days out on the road were great - small town Saskatchewan shows are always fun and always have a certain vibe about them that I love.  I love the small town folks, the conversations and the main street shops.  Those towns feel like home to me - getting the chance to hang out with such kind people in those communities is always a treat.  
After the couple of Saskatchewan shows we hit the number one highway, fast and hard, and made a quick stop in Winnipeg for some post Juno celebrations.  Got to see some good friends play some amazing music that night - Daniel Romano and the Trilliums played an electric set for a small handful of people who were fortunate enough to know about the show - I think its safe to say that it was one of my favourite shows I've been to in some time! 

Winnipeg to Thunder Bay to Sault Ste Marie was definitely a bit of a trip.  For those of you who don't know - thats a fairly lengthy drive to begin with, one that most touring folks will avoid if at all possible.  I love playing up north there, in Ontario.  I feel like those folks deserve to hear music as much as everyone else - so I make an effort to make it up there as much as possible.  This time around the travel part of the trip was less then fun - the morning we left Winnipeg - they started to broadcast on the news that there was going to be a huge storm, that would span from Winnipeg to Sault Ste Marie.  And almost the second we hit Ontario, we hit the storm.  And drove through it for two very very long days.  We had some scary moments, but took our time, and were persistent.  I'm glad we made it to both of those shows alive, because for a minute there I wasn't sure if that would be the case.  
All the Ontario shows thus far have been really great, and neat in their own ways.  Sarnia was definitely an intimate and cool night - so was Toronto last night. 

We have about five shows left in Canada, then onto Finland for me.  I don't know what to expect for how things will go over there - but I expect them to go pretty well! I'm real excited to get my feet on some new ground and to meet some new people, sing some songs in places I've never been before.  It'll be a trip, thats for sure.  

Thanks to everyone thats made it out to a show in the past couple weeks.  And hopefully we'll see some familiar faces down the road here! Thanks for following along on this crazy journey folks.  

Keep well friends. 
Happy trails,

Zachary. 

February 14th

friends,

been on the road for some twenty one days now, although it feels like its been twice that - or at least my body and mind would have me think that.  its been a great tour so far though - the western canadian shows with alanna gurr were some of my favourite to date. gimli to saskatoon we thought we might die - but we made it, and both shows were super special. saskatoon to edmonton, we thought we might not make it because my car was still in the garage at 3:00 PM, but we made it.  we had some beautiful moments on that tour - moments that reminded me why I play shows.  touring in the winter is always a weird thing, constantly worrying about weather or whether or not your car is going to start the next day, and when you're driving to the next town and your car starts making a funny sound you really start to worry.  so I'm thankful for those small moments we find out here, the people, the songs, that remind us why we're doing what we do. I love this life.   

I've been more then an adventure being down south in the states - dodging snow storms and meeting new folks.  everywhere I look there is something new for my eyes to see - a new city, a new face, a new landscape.  its refreshing.  its caused me to write a bit, which is one of the best feelings - when you can put the pen to page.  so far in the states I've play a handful of shows on the west coast and then had to drive east through oregon, idaho, and wyoming to meet up with john statz who I'm playing the rest of the tour with - and I have to say, that drive was something else.  close to 2000km of pretty much nothing.  I thought canada was desolate, at least we have a tim hortons every 45 minutes.  it was a long drive, listened to every single podcast I had, listened to npr when I could find it on the dial - it was refreshing to stumble upon npr and hear jian gomeshi's voice come across the airwaves as I was rambling my way across wyoming.  what I'm trying to say is that I'm loving it down here. its been a while since I've been plucked from my comfort zone, and it feels good - to not know the details of every city we're going to - to not know the people putting on the shows every night - its nice to be somewhere new, somewhere uncomfortable, if that makes sense? 

I'm really looking forward to the rest of the shows with john, he played a great set last night and is one of the nicest guys to boot.  we're currently in the middle of doing a small handful of colorado shows this weekend and then we'll head east out to kansas city to be apart of folk alliance, which is this giant folk conference where people walk around with banjos and fiddles non stop for days.  should be fun - tiring - but fun.  after that we'll continue doing a small handful of shows in the midwest.  can't wait to come share songs with those of you that I haven't met yet.  and can't wait to head east in canada in the spring to see some familiar faces.  

from one town to another, be well friends. 
zachary.