The Saskatoon singer-songwriter’s plaintive melodies about “the open road” and other folk themes are hardly new territory, but Lucky pulls it off without coming off as derivative. Armed with an acoustic guitar and a plaid shirt, the 23-year-old’s songs are more about the storytelling than about orchestral flourishes.
Having crisscrossed the continent for his previous four releases, Lucky’s latest album Saskatchewan is a brief eight-song meditation on his home province. Perhaps by design, or perhaps out of necessity, the album is a mere 20 minutes long, but any more would likely have ruined what is a cohesive collection of wistful songs about the wheat province.
This is Lucky’s first album since 2010’s Come and Gone, which got a fair amount of radio play across the country and earned him praise for his piercing songwriting. Having seen what worked, Lucky has narrowed Saskatchewan down even further, in sound and in subject matter.
While sentimental and sometimes bordering on sappy, Saskatchewan is nevertheless earnest and sincere. Lucky sings without a hint of irony: “Saskatchewan, my prairie home, you call to me wherever I roam. Saskatchewan, from prairie to pine, the home I’ll always call mine.”
On other tracks, Saskatchewan stands in for friends and lovers. On “Leaving Pt. 1” Lucky croons, “Oh Saskatchewan, tell me what happened. Did you grow, did your head turn grey? Your true love has turned away.”
The album is the perfect way to spend a snowy afternoon on the prairies. In fact, the winter release date may work in the album’s favour; Lucky’s melancholy notes just wouldn’t sound the same in the bright sunshine of summer. And as long as we all have to endure the bitter cold that comes with living through a Saskatchewan winter, we may as well take a moment to reflect on the vastness, the emptiness, as well as the warmth and the beauty of the place we call home.