Al Lukas
“The music is honest and the delivery is dynamic. In My Soul deserves a listen” -THE BELLEVILLE INTELLIGENCER

Bio

AL LUKAS

Matches

It has been four years between albums for roots-inflected singer/songwriter Al Lukas, but that certainly doesn’t indicate he’s been a slacker. On the contrary, response to his 2011 breakthrough third album In My Soul has been so enthusiastic that the hard-working troubadour has toured behind it ten times! The eclectic record has been heard on over 45 campus and commercial radio stations across Canada and garnered rave reviews:

“Really solid stuff, all of his hardships and achievements on the road are chronicled on In My Soul and his cross-country experience has enriched and honed his craft readying him to become a major player on the Canadian scene.”

-STAGE DOOR/Winnipeg, MB

“It’s obvious that Lukas is a formidable musician; his guitar is flawless and his voice has that “honey rolled in gravel” quality.”

 – EXCLAIM/Toronto ON

“In My Soul is Lukas’ third recording and showcases two things thoroughly: Lukas’ guitar skills (acoustic and electric) and his rough whiskey-toned voice. The mood is deep; the vibe is strong and Lukas’ voice rocks.

– VERNON MORNING STAR/Vernon, BC

In My Soul notched strong airplay and has gone into a second pressing, and now Lukas is set to take things up another notch with his compelling new album, Matches,  released October 20, 2015.

Matches showcases the development of the Toronto-based Lukas as a songwriter of real emotional eloquence. Match this with his fluency as a guitarist (both acoustic and electric) and his powerfully soulful vocals and you have a genuine triple threat. The gruff quality of his resonant voice has drawn comparison to the likes of Tom Waits, Richie Havens and Van Morrison, but he always harnesses its power to best serve the song.

The sound of Matches is, by design, a little more sparse and stylistically focused than on In My Soul. “A big part of my career is playing live, so this time out I said ‘hey guys, let’s record an album that sounds like what we do live,'” Lukas explains. “I write everything on acoustic guitar, so I wanted that on everything.”

Once Lukas and his two bandmates, drummer Kent Macrae and bassist Chris Byrne, set up shop in Calgary’s Studio D, the recording of Matches took place quickly and smoothly. “We recorded live off the floor, two or three takes per song. We had all the bed tracks down in two days, and I added to them in between touring over the next few weeks.”

A key component in Matches is the co-production, engineering and mixing work of Steve Dierkens. His audio production skills have placed him in demand in film and television, with credits including Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, The Lion King, and American Dad!, and Dierkens now owns and operates Studio D.

While jokingly referring to it as “the bunker,” Lukas notes that “it is a state of the art studio. Down there it’s as if the outside world doesn’t exist. There was a tornado in Calgary while we were there and we had no idea!” Al praises Dierkens as “the most experienced producer I’ve worked with, and a real nice and even-tempered guy.’

The process took place democratically. “Steve would act as the producer while we were playing, and then we’d all go back and give it a listen and make some decisions,” Al recalls. “I wanted everybody to have a hand on the steering wheel, even though they’re my songs. I feel that when you get professionals into a project, you don’t tell them what to do; you want to see what they can bring to the table. It all felt really organic and everyone had a nice positive attitude towards the songs.”

Lukas’ acoustic guitar work is strong throughout, as on the album closer “Don’t Think Twice,” a song with a lovely jazzy bossa nova vibe. His skill on electric is also showcased on a few of the songs on Matches. There’s a real vigour to his playing on the intense “Mrs. Write,” while clean and crisp lines enhance the tender track “Loved Before.”

The songs collected on Matches are a seamless mix of newer and older material. Al terms some of the songs ‘orphans,’ noting that “I wanted them to make it on the last one. That didn’t happen, but I found they fit really well with my new songs. I actually entitled the album Matches because of that, plus the fact that everybody who worked on the album proved a perfect match.”

As a writer, Lukas generally looks within, utilizing personal experiences and emotions to come up with his insightful material. The moving “Lost With You,” for instance, comes from time spent helping a friend through a troubled time in her life. “I wrote that song at her kitchen table and left it with her as a way of saying ‘even when I’m not around I’m still lost with you,'” Al recalls.

The evocative imagery of the title track was inspired by a chat Lukas had with his super at the building he was then living in. “I told him we needed doors that lock and he replied that people would still find a way to get in. I said ‘we can’t hand them the matches to light the fire,’ and that phrase resonated with me.”

Al eagerly soaks up ideas generated from talking with friends. “If someone in a room says something interesting, I’ll take their thoughts and reword it poetically,” he explains. He actually shares songwriting credits with these non-musicians, as on the powerful “Don’t Let Your World Down.”

Lukas has had a fascinating and freewheeling musical journey to get to this point. He toured northern Ontario in his mid-teens as the guitarist in his family’s bluegrass-based band, then played in rock’n roll bands in the bars of his hometown of Kapuskasing (while under-age!). As a solo artist, he honed his performance chops in settings ranging from opening for Blue Rodeo, joining Jack deKeyzer onstage in Windsor, playing blues and roots festivals through Ontario, and participating in a jam session with some of Detroit’s top blues and jazz players (including legendary trumpeter, the late Marcus Belgrave).

His first two albums, 2007’s self-titled debut and 2009’s Fall & Flight, earned positive reviews, though Lukas now explains “the genre on those albums felt a bit directed by my management team at the time. On the last two, I got to be myself as a singer/songwriter.”

A career turning-point came with his unique 2009 Good Faith tour. On this seven-month cross-Canada trek, Al didn’t book any dates in advance, but instead relied on the barter system. “I’d walk around town, go to the bars that had music and see what I could do.  All I would say was what I could offer, and by saying that it was then ‘give me what you think it’s worth.’ That could mean meals, or a place to stay, or money for gas. The generosity was quite striking.”

That tour fueled many songs on In My Soul and cemented friendships and connections that continue to pay dividends for Lukas, who now books his tours conventionally.

This seasoned road warrior is already eagerly anticipating his next tour. In the meantime, he brings us Matches, an album sure to bring a warm glow to your heart and soul.

Written By Kerry Doole

For more information, contact:

Radio/Publicity: Last Tango Productions/Yvonne Valnea

Tel:  416-538-1838 Email: info@lasttangoproductions.com

 

 

 

Copyright © AL LUKAS 2015