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