Home Exclusive preview! The Lucky Ones share ‘Fool’s Gold’ ahead of new EP A Nickel...

The Lucky Ones share ‘Fool’s Gold’ ahead of new EP A Nickel For The Fiddler


On a hot Tuesday in August 2023, Yukon-based bluegrass band The Lucky Ones set up at Ganaraska Recording Co., the studio east of Toronto run by Juno-winning multi-instrumentalist Steve Marriner and guitarist extraordinaire Jimmy Bowskill (The Sheepdogs, Blue Rodeo). Their motive was the time-honored tradition of artists capturing lightning in a bottle while in the midst of a tour, and it indeed proved to be a highly productive day, with the five songs laid down live-off-the-floor now comprising The Lucky Ones’ latest EP, A Nickel For The Fiddler, due out March 22. The group is offering another preview with the track “Fool’s Gold,” available now on digital platforms.


The new collection also marks a fresh start of sorts for The Lucky Ones. Having built up a stellar reputation in their home area, largely through a long-running weekly residency at the ’98 Hotel in Whitehorse, the group is now fully committed to hitting the road and connecting with bluegrass audiences all around the world. A Nickel For The Fiddler is the latest phase of that process, with a further full-length album slated for later in 2024. It also marks the group’s first recording without original member JD McCallen, although they pay tribute to him with “20 Months,” one of his songs that hadn’t found a place on record until now.

As founding member, mandolin player/vocalist Ryan James West said, “We wanted to pay homage to our roots with this EP, so that’s why we went with the title A Nickel For The Fiddler. It’s also a Guy Clark song, someone who’s a huge inspiration to us, along with Townes Van Zandt, Blaze Foley and Rodney Crowell. So it’s a bit of a tip-of-the-cap to that circle of songwriters, but more so, it’s an homage to our friend and mentor, Joe Loutchan, who had the ’98 Hotel residency up until his passing in 2021. We needed to include a traditional fiddle tune for him, although that led to us adding another medley of traditional fiddle two-step tunes. Why stop at one, right?”

With The Lucky Ones’ line-up now solidified around Ryan guitarist/vocalist Ian Smith, banjo player/vocalist Ryan McNally, fiddler Kieran Poile and upright bassist Jeff Dineley, the group is ready to prove conclusively that you don’t need to be from Appalachia to play great bluegrass. With their original songs drawing from tales of the Far North, as well as from each member’s life, The Lucky Ones have always offered something different. That’s clearly heard on the fresh takes of longtime favourites “Since The Farm Got Sold,” “Waitin’ On A Paycheque” and “Fool’s Gold” included on A Nickel For The Fiddler. In a truly serendipitous moment, they discovered that the Ganaraska Recording studio is in the same house where Ryan’s great-grandfather had lived, on the property that was once his farm.

Said Ryan, “The farmhouse has had minor renovations to make the building work as a recording studio. However, it has been largely untouched and left with that vintage farmhouse appeal. It was profound—truly a spiritual experience—being in there. It was like stepping into a time machine, visiting with ghosts, and sharing songs and stories with the ancestors.”

There are undoubtedly many of those ancestors smiling down at The Lucky Ones at this moment as they prepare to re-introduce themselves to the Americana music world. A Nickel For The Fiddler serves as both an encore to the band’s tavern and saloon era, and a harbinger of things to come. But above all, its five songs are as authentic as it gets.

Get The Lucky Ones’ music from Bandcamp, and stay up to date at theluckyonesmusic.com.


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