Best of What's New
The National Conversation By Mindy Giles It's a question that everyone faces, but it seems more pressing now. How do you negotiate that path to your innocent essence when adulthood gets in the way? Can muscular rock 'n' roll music be more to us than a worn and comfortable Lazy Boy time machine to travel in every decade we get the postcard for a double-digit high school reunion? Is a restless country in perpetual anxiety even allowed the luxury of those kinds of questions these days? Well, hell, yes, successful painter and collage artist Bobbie K. Owens would say, point blank and wide-eyed. After 30 years of being a professional artist, why not ask those questions? Emerge. In his newly re-invented self in 2006, that of a lyricist/singer/guitarist, making what he calls, intriguingly "twilight rock," Owens and The Luckies offer a challenge to re-awaken: "Leave your ego at the doorway Leave your pride and bottle too And those rolled ones in your cigarettes Save them -for you Cause I don't need your confusion I don't need no more high I don't need no more talking I've had enough to get by It's a simple situation As you head on down the road You can be a walking target baby Or you can be the target load." Take this message personal or global. It works either way as national conversation. A perfect one to have at a reunion. These are nine story songs that push buttons. There are emotional dust-ups here, a charge to listeners to get involved or re-involved with their own personal integrity. Clearly an album bathed in the cultural shakedown of the 1960s and 1970s, it benefits from the rock heroes who provided our generation's strong soundtrack: The Allman Brothers, the Who, the Stones, Al Kooper, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Marshall Tucker. It's understandable-this ensemble, though newly formed, have a lifetime of professional playing behind them. Powerful twin guitar leads and trade-offs from Mike Fox and Jerry Mihay squeeze out sparks in front of high precision funkiness from the Luckies' tough rhythm section--David Merris on drums and Chad Diorio on bass. Righteous churchiness-- not from those "bible thumpers and runaway Christians" Owens skewers in "Reno, Nevada," but from Fox's big, rollickin', hallelujah Hammond B-3 organ -lifts the spirit and dancing feet. Owen's conversational sing-speak vocals feels most closely associated with a rock survivor who has uncompromisingly re-invented himself-Lou Reed. Looking at this new band of veterans, The Luckies, it would be the clever angle to add up these guys' ages and come up with a total beyond America's centennial numbers, but that would miss the point of this serendipitous collective and the not so-middle-aged crazy that brought them together two years ago. In 2004, successful visual collage artist Bobbie K. Owens floated some personal memoirs under the wise eye of Paradise Studio owner Dave Nay. Nay read the Owens' driven poetry, and, simply put, believed. After 30 years of visual art, something new---word, music and performance was about to evolve. A band called The Luckies. - Mindy Giles Still a Hoosier at heart, Giles is a writer, a long-time independent label executive and roots music advocate. She is the co-author of REALLY THE BLUES (Woodford Publishing) and now lives near wine country in northern California.