Though The Lucky is a relatively new Kansas City band, the group is already working hard to play on larger local bills and begin recording. We sit down with the duo, Jason McKee and Camilla Camille, to find out more about who they are and what they have going.
The Deli: Gun to your head, 1 sentence to describe your music. What is it?
The Lucky: Indie-garage-punk-pop-riot revival with a beat you can dance to. The Deli: Let’s talk about what you have coming up. What can we expect?
Camilla Camille: We have a Kickstarter campaign starting this Friday and we are going to record a CD with Pat Tomek. And we have a show with Schwervon! on September 28 at The Riot Room; it’s their record release party. They just moved here from New York. And you can expect lots of fun music, laughter, theatrics, maybe some stage drama, some choreography, perhaps, some hoofing, and an all-around good time.
The Deli: What does "supporting local music" mean to you?
The Lucky: Camilla Camille: It means going out to shows and buying local bands’ CDs and t-shirts. Generally banging your head in the audience, screaming "yay!" and "woohoo!" while they’re playing. And talking to them afterwards telling them what you liked about their show.
Jason: Going to shows is important, and a worthwhile investment if you’re a music lover, but I also think if a band puts on a good show, it’s important to tell them afterward that I liked it and what I liked about it. And when I see a band I really like, I try to tell other people about it so they can experience it, too.
The Deli: Who are your favorite "local" musicians right now?
Camilla Camille: You, Michelle Bacon. And The Cave Girls. Robin Powell Campbell. And The Bad Ideas. And The Beautiful Bodies. And Deco Auto. And Drew Black and Dirty Electric. And The Quivers.
The Deli: Who are your favorite not-so-local musicians right now?
The Lucky: Camilla Camille: Right now I have been listening to Devo, Bad Religion, Spank Rock, The Black Keys, The Cramps, and The Dollyrots.
Jason: I listen to a lot of The Libertines and Babyshambles. The Black Keys, Jack White’s various projects. Lately, I’ve been getting into The Germs. I listen to The Clash a lot, too.
The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy concert bill to play on?
The Lucky: Jason: Us with Cream, The Sex Pistols, the Libertines. Or, since this is fantasy, maybe letting Mozart, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones open for us.
Camilla Camille: Well that would require that we time travel because I would really like to open up for The Cramps, but since Lux is dead, that’s impossible. Otherwise, The Lucky could open up for the Black Keys or go on tour with Jack White, either The Raconteurs or The Dead Weather, or his solo project, or a reunion with Meg White for a White Stripes tour. But it would be kind of cool to time travel.
The Deli: Would you rather spend the rest of your life on stage or in the recording studio?
The Lucky: Camilla Camille: I would say I would like to spend the rest of my life on stage. However, it would be really neat to sleep in a recording studio, like if my bedroom was a recording studio. I would have a bed in there, a dresser, and a desk, but it would also have a stage area. I could combine both of them and have a stage in the recording studio and just live in there. That would be great. And of course there would be videos of the stage performances in the recording studio, which would be my bedroom.
Jason: It would definitely be on stage because performing for people and interacting with them gives me a rush I don’t get anywhere else. Plus, I have little patience for hearing playback of myself over and over.
The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting up there and why?
The Lucky: Jason: John Lennon because he’s John Lennon.
Eric Clapton: "Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs" made me want to be a guitar player.
Lou Reed for having his own vocal and lyrical style and breaking away from what everyone else was doing.
Kurt Cobain for bringing soul and meaning back to rock music after it had been overtaken by cheesy hair bands.
The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?
The Lucky: Camilla Camille: Face your fears, stand up for yourself, look at the colors, embrace nature, write poetry, eat your vegetables, be grateful what you have, and tell your boyfriend how much you love him.
Jason: As the Butthole Surfers said, "It’s better to regret something you have done than to regret something that you haven’t done." And tell your girlfriend how much you love her.
Michelle is editor-in-chief of The Deli - Kansas City. She also has a weekly column with The Kansas City Star and reviews music for Ink. She plays with Deco Auto, Drew Black and Dirty Electric, and Dolls on Fire. She played piano for about 8 years straight and can't seem to remember much of it now. Ho hum.
Chris Meck and Abigail Henderson have given way more than their lion’s share to the Kansas City music scene. Whether through past efforts like The Gaslights orAtlantic Fadeout or being some of the driving forces behind the Midwest Music Foundation, Apocalypse Meow, and MidCoast Takeover, they should receive the deep admiration of anyone that sets foot on a stage in this town. Their latest musical endeavor, Tiny Horse, is no exception. Darkly Sparkly is a gorgeous collection of songs.
In the simplest of descriptions, the duo plays dark Americana. Ticklers of atmospheric instrumentation, provided by Meck, gambol upon the background, occasionally throwing the ball over the fence to take the melody reins or mingle with Henderson’s haunting vocals, but are quick to slink back to further delighting the sonic landscape.
But as everyone’s mother will tell you, life is not simple. Tiny Horse is the unfortunate poster band for this sentiment. You probably know the back story, but in case not, here is a link to an article from late 2012 by Timothy Finn over at The Kansas City Star that paints the picture.
Especially in that light, there are next to no words I can come up with to adequately describe the impact provided by the vocal performance. Henderson is able to speak from a place that few of us have ever been and she seemingly welcomes the opportunity to embrace these experiences and provide the listener with a small bathroom window into what it all has come to mean for her. Her voice is so beautifully imperfect—an ideal combination of coying, sweet and sassy as worked upon by the old rusty wood rasp from your grandfather’s tool shed.
Her lyrics say it best:
(Reviewer’s note: these are the best transcriptions these old damaged musician ears can figure out)
“There’s no one left to ask, pictures of the past just sit in boxes underneath the bed
Money’s just a noose, the old excuse that fooled you into what you did instead.
Ride with me tonight. Let’s remember what it means to chase a little something.”
“Why do you need me? Why do you want me? Cause I’m not done here. Leave me alone.
Take your old songs. Take your old singers. Leave me to write. The only world I’ve known.”
From “Nashville Parthenon”:
“It’s been so dark since you left Nashville. I’ve read the same books again and again.
Makes me wish I wasn’t bashful when it comes to other men.
But if I could have my way, darling, you’d come home.”
“Softly We Fall” is a tender ballad reminiscent of the final song of a junior high school barn dance somewhere in dusty West Texas circa 1958. Meck doesn’t offer his voice up too often on these tracks, but they are used to great effectiveness here. His mimicking vocals follow along on the chorus, “Softly we fall into each other’s arms. It was your fault when we kissed,” further adding to the nostalgic remembrances of adolescent courting. His guitar work also particularly stands out on this track, beautifully crafted and culminating with a simple yet scathing solo to carry the song home.
All in all, the music presented by Tiny Horse is just simply triumphant, the work of carefully seasoned (and hardened) musicians, also including multi-instrumentalist Cody Wyoming, bassist Zach Phillips, and drummer Matt Richey. It is sorrow meant to be remembered, celebrated, and enjoyed. The EP’s title, Darkly Sparkly, seems most appropriate. The KC music scene would be a much darker and less sparkly place without the efforts of Meck and Henderson.