"We all have hometown appetites. Every other person is a bundle of longing for the simplicities of good taste once enjoyed on the farm or in the hometown [he or she] left behind."
– American food writer Clementine Paddleford
It’s a cuisine quote, but Paddleford’s words perfectly portray Kayla Luky. The singer-songwriter grew up in Grandview, Manitoba, a small farming community nestled between the Riding and Duck Mountains, but like many young folks in the area, Luky fled to Winnipeg following high school. Setting up shop in One Great City, the prairie girl penned, performed and produced her 2008 album "Story of my Life" in the ‘Peg. Recorded live in one-take, the record received very positive reviews from the Winnipeg Free Press, The Uniter, The Manitoban and Uptown Magazine. Still, something wasn’t right, and it wasn’t long before Luky realized the “Heart of the Continent” wasn’t where her heart was at.
Luky’s latest album "The Time it Takes" marks not only a homecoming for the young songstress, but a complete countrification of her sound. Take the sentimental saddle song "Cowboys Are Coming", the banjo-driven boot stomper "Lonesome Ranger" or the aching, heart-breaking "My Flowers Are Empty" with its sad pedal steel and love lost refrain “You left me in shambles, you left me in pain, the summer dragged on and my heart didn’t change.” Metropolitan music makers would be hard-pressed to write a hard-luck song so genuine, but Luky’s small town setting gives it absolute authenticity. There can be a lot of loneliness in a one-bar town, but this is no individual effort.
In addition to Luky, "The Time it Takes" features instrumentation from Saskatoon folk artist Zachary Lucky, Lucas Goetz of Saskatoon’s Deep Dark Woods and Daniel Péloquin-Hopfner of Winnipeg’s Fire & Smoke. Armed with liquor and lottery tickets from the local Home Hardware, the four musicians, along with London, Ontario-based singer-songwriter Sean Craib-Petkau (The Bravest Ghost), holed up in Luky’s big, old house in Grandview for a week in December. With a little help from her friends, Luky has surpassed the spare, straightforward sound of her previous folk-pop projects and created a bona fide alt-country album. The extra players inject an audible intensity into already strong songs. Take the title track, which starts with Luky’s heavyhearted harmonica, enough to put you into a melancholy mood, but when Goetz’s banjo enters the mix, you get a good hard yank at the heartstrings. Another case of added depth is Lucky’s electric guitar at the end of "Arizona." His bluesy tone is the perfect companion to Luky’s localized lyrics, which concern such community issues as pogey, puck bunnies and coffeeshop complainers.
Satiated with small town stories, chock-full of well-crafted country, if you’re hankering for some home cooking, Kayla Luky’s "The Time it Takes" will satisfy your hometown appetite.