Zachary Lucky and Richard Inman’s concert tour is, safe to say, one of the few concerts that’s been held over the card game Kings Corner.
“Sometimes the music comes second,” they joke.
Seated on either side of a small card table on the dimly lit Fourth Stage of the National Arts Centre for their concert on Oct. 27, the pair said they took on the tour after a decade of lonely hours spent separately on the road, co-writing music only on the occasions when they chanced to overlap in their travels.
Their friendship played a large part in their performance, starting from the opening moments of the show when they flipped a coin to see who would perform first.
“When will you start calling [heads or tails]?” Zach quipped. “When you start winning,” came the automatic response from Richard. Zach won the toss. It would mark the first of many quips to be slung across the table.
The lightheartedness of the banter was contrasted by the subject matter of the songs. While the opening half of the show largely teased charming simplicity like on Zach’s “Sunday at the Track” or a quirky song by Richard about going fishing, there was an obvious power to their more heartfelt songs, many of which were performed as duets, like “Sometimes I Wonder How I Got This Far” off of Zach’s album Midwestern.
As Zach tells it, he was once asked after a show, “Do you guys ever sing any happy songs?”
In the second hour of the show, Richard performed “Cut Fence (Let God Sort Em Out),” an evocative song about a rancher having to set free his horses as he faces down an oncoming wildfire. It was the strongest display of Richard’s songwriting and powerful voice and outperformed his recorded version considerably.
Fans of Zachary or Richard individually will be interested in this concert as an opportunity to hear duo performances of their solo favourites, such as “Raining in December,” which appears in both artists’ discography. Zach joked before the performance that “you would have to play both albums simultaneously” in order to replicate the live performance.
Zach’s twangy cowboy tones were complimented well by the higher voice of Richard, who harmonized from beneath the low brim of his ten-gallon hat during the songs where Zach sang lead. Oftentimes the harmonizer sat back from the mic, casually undertoning comfortably from back of their chair and adding to the feel of a casual night spent between friends rather than a formal performance.
While the music was expectedly touching and excellent, it was the relationship between Richard Inman and Zachary Lucky that was the most pleasant surprise. Throughout the concert, the pair regaled the audience with stories of their meetings throughout the years as solo artists. They talked of nights spent drinking, playing cards, chatting and songwriting late into the night.
Whether it was the music, the banter, the worn and beaten rug they played on or the small table of cards between them, it very much felt like just one of those nights.