The Lucky Ones: The Lucky Ones

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The Lucky Ones sound like they come from Kentucky or some other Appalachian area, playing what is musically straight bluegrass / roots string music, but they’re actually from the Yukon, Canada, made famous by the Klondike Gold Rush and more latterly by Ice Road Truckers. (We once went to the Motown Museum in Detroit, where they have a big world map and pins, and the guide’s day was made because our chum from Whitehorse in the Yukon was the first from that town to visit and got to stick in a pin).

Anyway, although the music is old school The Lucky Ones bring a fresh sound to it; they’re not being retro, they’re playing modern songs in a bluegrass style. We suspect they’re fun live.

The album kicks off with Fool’s Gold, which musically could have been written a century ago when men were digging for gold and indeed starts off singing about that, but ends up in the Athabasca oil sands of Canada, where people today carry out an equally dirty job to enrich others. (We also got drunk in Fort McMurray with a Novia Scotian and some oil sand workers but that’s another story).

Other songs take in their home town. The Old 98 is about a bar, for example: “Find a stool at the bar, sit yourself down / If you ring that old bell, you’ll be buying a round / Don’t ask for no tab, don’t hold up the line / It’s cash on the bar, one drink at a time.”

There’s lots of traditional string band playing and it’s all fairly jolly, although standout is the more mournful and thoughtful Wish, which opens “It’s cold in these trenches, snow’s driving down / It’s piling up inches, that blood tainted ground” and continues in that vein, referencing the place the Lucky Ones’ music comes from, “I weep for my loved ones, Kentucky my home”. So good The Pogues would have been proud of it.

For fans of bands like Old Crow Medicine Show but this is music that’s very much meant not to be “heritage” but enjoyed as modern.

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