Canadian bluegrass outfit THE LUCKY ONES release A Nickel For The Fiddler EP

Article Contributed by Jason Schneide… | Published on Sunday, March 24, 2024

Today, Yukon-based bluegrass band The Lucky Ones officially begin a new chapter with the release of their new EP A Nickel For The Fiddler, available on all digital platforms.

On the heels of two singles, "Since The Farm Got Sold" and "Fools Gold," the group is offering one more preview with "Waiting On A Paycheck," a high-and-lonesome homage to their blue collar roots that can be traced back to Jimmie Rodgers.

A Nickel For The Fiddler was recorded on a hot Tuesday in August 2023, when The Lucky Ones dropped into 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 new EP.

Having built up a stellar reputation in their home area, largely through a long-running weekly residency at the ’98 Hotel in Whitehorse, The Lucky Ones are 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, says, “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 add another medley of traditional fiddle two-step tunes. Why stop at one, right?”

With The Lucky Ones’ line-up now solidified around West, 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. 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.