Lucky Overton writes and performs a mixture of Americana and American roots music that can only be described as "Soulful Americana music." He currently resides in Alamosa county, Colorado.
The year was 1998. It was a humid spring day in Knoxville, Tennessee when Lucky Overton closed his guitar case, packed up his John Prine and Ray Charles albums and hit the road. The native Arizona songwriter was ready to return west.
Since that day, Lucky Overton has become a notable Americana artist and a crucial part of the southwestern music scene. Running on the influences of East Tennessean Alt-Country and Georgian soul, Lucky soon became the inventor of new sounds such as ‘Soulful Americana Music' and ‘Grunge Folk.' Without a doubt, Lucky Overton has proven to be both innovative and entertaining:
"Overton is a musical mutt who touches on many respected peers without getting pigeonholed into being the "next" somebody. That works for Overton. His working-man songs smolder, keeping the emotions close to the vest without ever allowing them to burst out. It creates a wonderful tension as he moves through his songs. His first full length and second release shows a young artist with promise as he refines his own sound."
-Jeff Weiss, Miles of Music, 7/24/08
Bars, bookstores, coffee shops and private parties have all been venues for Lucky Overton Music, but he has also played at many large events including: Pickin' in The Pines-Acoustic and Bluegrass Festival, The Flagstaff Music Festival, The Arizona Governor's Banquet and The Flagstaff Folk Festival. Lucky has also shared the stage with many talents including Hillstomp, Rafe Sweet, Right on John, Rand Anderson, Annie Vergnetti, Andrew Laugher, and Big Jon Myers.
Lucky Overton's music has found its way onto both regional and international radio stations and shows such as Rootstime, Belgium, Radio Winschoten, Netherlands, KAFF Country's Under Western Skies and Mojo Dreams. Since 2006, Lucky Overton has produced and recorded two albums: The Portland Sessions-EP and College Town (both of which are available at luckyoverton.com, cdbaby.com and milesofmusic.com).
"It's soulful Americana! It's like driving through the desert at midnight with no headlights and disappearing into the distant rhythm of heartbreak, hope and desperation. I am the bastard son of Gram Parsons and Aretha Franklin. I'm Ray Charles with a guitar in a country bar. I'm soulful, I'm white, and I'm Dylan doing nothing but Nashville Skyline. It's the music that makes you feel like Sam Cook, Hank Williams and Otis Redding are still alive."
"Lucky Overton wraps his smoky pipes around little gems of Country and Soul, bordering at times on a less-raspy Paul Westerberg or a slightly more soulful Pete Droge. Overton's cadence and music conjure the story-telling of Robert Earl Keen. Overton is a musical mutt who touches on many respected peers without getting pigeonholed into being the "next" somebody. That works for Overton. His working-man songs smolder, keeping the emotions close to the vest without ever allowing them to burst out. It creates a wonderful tension as he moves through his songs. His first full length and second release shows a young artist with promise as he refines his own sound."
- Jeff Weiss, Miles of Music, 7/24/08 www.milesofmusic.com
"Lucky Overton is a singer-songwriter who strives for a perfect mix of Alternative Country and Soul. As a fan of performers such as The Rolling Stones, John Prine, Ray Charles and Otis Redding, whose music largely defined his life; it became quickly evident to this musician that he had to create his own "Soulful Americana" sound guided by these influences. He does that very cleverly on this CD "College Town", with 10 songs intended to create an image of his life and his emotions spanning the period from his 20th year to present.
Lucky says that his songs are best suited for listening in a car CD player on a long trip over the expansive American highways. He is self-described as the bastard son of Aretha Franklin and Graham Parsons. The influence of these artists you can hear in songs such as "Thoughts of Rain", "Are You Alone Tonight?", "Sun City Skyline" (could also have been something of Jesse Malin), and closer, "Plane to North Carolina". The Soul influences are even stronger and more evident in "Ain't It A Shame", "Wet 20" and "My Braces". "Watch Your Back" leans more toward the Modern Jazz style, while the acoustic "Black and Blue" resembles strongly the famous songs of Neil Young.
As a follow-up to his 2006 "Portland Sessions", "College Town" should establish for Lucky Overton a well-earned place in the crowded field of Americana talents."
-Valsam, Rootstime, Belgium, 6/27/08 www.rootstime.be
Soulful Americana roots artist
LUCKY OVERTON has a passion
for writing and performing a
beautiful blend of music that is
mostly influenced by 60s and 70s
country, rock and blues.
Currently a Colorado resident,
Overton has travelled far and
wide plying his trade and
converting audiences to his
brilliant songwriting ways. In
2008, the College Town album
was unleashed on the world.
This is a fantastic snapshot of
everything that Overton is as an artist and has stood the test of time
fantastically. Feeling this hidden gem has not had the attention or
acknowledgement that it fully deserves, Aldora Britain Records decided to sit
down with this master of song and chat about this remarkable time in his musical
You can watch Lucky Overton perform live sets on Instagram and Facebook Live
via his profile @luckyovertonmusic.
Photos by Julie Reisinger.
LUCKY OVERTON IS AVAILABLE AS PART OF THIS ALDORA BRITAIN RECORDS
ALDORA BRITAIN RECORDS: Hi Lucky, how are you doing? It is a pleasure to be
chatting. Thank you so much for your time! I was wondering if we could start
off by rewinding time. What are some of your first musical memories and what
pushed you towards pursuing music?
LUCKY OVERTON: Hi Tom, I am well here, thanks. I am glad to be here. My first
musical memories would include being sung to by my mother from the time I
was a baby and on into growing up, singing in church or bible groups three days
a weeks and later, coming up with my own melodies and lyrics and singing them
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into a cassette recorded as a 10 year
old. I picked up the saxophone for a
few months in fifth grade and
enjoyed making the sounds match
the notes on the paper and
performing a few school concerts,
but was kicked out of the school
band for talking too much! Per
mom’s insistence, I stayed with the
school choir for a few seasons. I felt
like a dork, being one of only three
dudes in a mass of girls, singing bass
the whole time. But looking back,
that experience, combined with the
church singing really helped me learn
to use and treat my voice as an
instrument. As off as it may sound, I
grew up as a child in a household with a strict Christian single mother, where
secular music was forbidden. But we did hear it at a friend’s house and found
ways to sneak in a listen to albums while mom was away.
When I moved to Tennessee with my father for high school, all that changed and
I was consuming as much of the secular music that I had missed as I could. As a
late teen, I played bass in some Knoxville alt rock and punkabilly bands during
the early 90s. I wasn’t really drawn into music though until I started playing the
acoustic guitar. I recall holding the body of a cheap pawn shop Alvarez against
my chest as I stummed and loving the way its vibrations calmed me. Once I was
able to combine my voice with it, everything just fell together as a natural way
to express and soothe myself at the same time. I just stuck with it as a
singer/songwriter after that.
ALDORA BRITAIN RECORDS: You originally hit the road in 1998 after a fateful
day in Knoxville, Tennessee. Can you tell me a little about these early days, some
of the experiences and the lessons you learnt?
LUCKY OVERTON: I had a very possessive girlfriend at the time, so it took a nasty
breakup to get away. ‘Ain’t It A Shame’ was written on that drive moving from
Knoxville, Tennessee to Flagstaff, Arizona. I had been cooped up as a
homebound songwriter for a good while and needed to return to my family in
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Arizona where I am from. There were also
some unsupportive, negative friends there
to say goodbye to as well.
Looking back, it’s kind of funny how
seriously I took people back them. Choosing
to catch all of the garbage that toxic folks
threw my way. Taking it personally, instead
of using it as a cue to move on. A big take
away I learned is that you really don’t have to do anything at all in life, but die
one day. Yet, it’s a good idea to put energy into relationships that feel right and
to take risks when you are going after what you are passionate about. Make
your mark before it’s all said and done.
ALDORA BRITAIN RECORDS: Your innovative and entertaining style of roots
music is something that always gets picked up on. How does this creative
process work for you? Are there specific themes you enjoy writing about and
who are your biggest influences as an artist?
LUCKY OVERTON: Believe it or not, 60s and 70s soul has a huge influence on me
as a singer. My favourite singers of all time from top to bottom are... Sam Cooke,
“It’s a good idea to ...
take risks when you are
going after what you
are passionate about.
Make your mark before
it’s all said and done.”
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Ray Charles and Otis Redding. Hands down! I
love the sound that human beings are able to
create when they take an honest dig deep
down inside themselves and pull out all of the
longing, the hurt, angst and worry for all to
hear in a howling quake, a soft whimper or a
drowning moany. That stuff hits the listener’s
gut right away. It reminds us that we are
human, we hurt and life’s pretty damn hard.
Songwriting influences are singer/songwriters
such as John Prine and all of his deeply sincere
lyrics that crush you beneath all of their heavy truth, Robert Earl Keen and the
way he tells a detailed and meaningful story in three and a half minutes, Bob
Dylan and the fact that his words entwine well enough to keep you interested
well past six verses, and Kevin Kinney for his venture for Drivin N Cryin to release
the brilliant acoustic album McDougal Blues. I think that the dirty, unpolished
acoustic songs of The Rolling Stones on albums such as Beggar’s Banquet are
worth mentioning as having a special place on my shelf of influences.
As an artist, I work with the raw
emotions of conflicts in life, the
stuff we can’t change, but would
if we could. The stuff we won’t
ever be able to control. The
people and the situations that
hurt us and chip away at our very
existence day after day. But the
song and music is something no
one can ever take away. I
believe that the song is inside of
us always, even before it is
written down. The song lives
inside me, awaiting for an
opportunity, an emotional
response to life, to be opened
up. For me, the inspiration for a song could be anything from various forms of
personal rejection or failures to surviving a dangerous rafting trip. As in ‘Wet
“I love the sound that
human beings are
able to create when
they take an honest
dig deep down inside
themselves ... all of
the longing, the hurt,
angst and worry.”
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ALDORA BRITAIN RECORDS: I
would like to single out your 2008
record, College Town. What are
your memories from making and
releasing this record, and how do
you reflect on it now?
LUCKY OVERTON: My memories
of making College Town are all
very fond. There were actually
three studios used in the
recording, along with seventeen
talented musicians. Each player
was a hired gun and/or friend
who fitted the sound I wanted for
each song. It was nice to have
that much creative control to
produce my own album.
Probably the coolest memory
from the album was staying the
night in Multi-Purpose Studios,
which was inside of the old Jerome High School, with Steve Botterweg. This was
in the once-upon-a-time ghost mining town, now turned arts colony of Jerome,
Arizona. In fact, the song ‘Black and Blue’ was recorded entirely in one take in
the hall of the basement of that empty old school. The reverb is completely
natural from placing another mic at the opposite end of the hall. It was kind of
creepy and fun staying there.
Various musicians played release gigs around Flagstaff with me and that was a
hoot, especially before I moved. Unfortunately, for as high quality of an album
that College Town was, and all the work that went into it, the release was very
poorly timed. I was on my way to moving out of State to start a teaching career
and the economic crash happened to boot. CD distributing deals folded and I
found out the hard way that there was no room for music – or much of anything
else – while teaching and, instead of touring in the summers, I spent it playing
catch up with house repairs and revitalising a drained body and mind. So, the
record really sat all of this time. The COVID situation forced me to get back to
the heart of my existence. I re-evaluated my goals for the long run and I decided
to end my full-time teaching job and give my music and writing a firm go. I really
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appreciate Aldora Britain Records
for giving this album a second
chance at life. I would like to
consider 2021 the re-release of
College Town, the album I worked
so hard to create but never got it’s
fair shake. I rearranged the song
order to make it more interesting
ALDORA BRITAIN RECORDS: ‘Sun
City Skyline’ is such an underrated
song from these sessions. What is
the story behind the track and
what is it all about?
LUCKY OVERTON: Well, there are
a lot of heartbreak songs from the
album as they were all written
while I was in my twenties. I was dating an eclectic older woman who lived in
Sun City, a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona, and I was a good three hours away in
Flagstaff. We would meet up mostly when I drove down to see her, so that’s
where a lot of the song’s imagery comes from. It took a while to figure out that,
even though feelings developed on my end, I was no more than a boy toy of
sorts for her. So, I guess, the song is really the only good thing to come out of
the whole thing. Hopefully, some folks out there find it a relatable theme... we
all want what we can’t have.
ALDORA BRITAIN RECORDS: You are a multimedia artist too and like to write
poetry and short stories. Can you tell me about this pursuit and what are the
differences in your approach between this and music?
LUCKY OVERTON: It’s taken a while to fully open up as a creative writer because
songwriting has been in the forefront for so long, as an instant emotional
expression to whatever life throws at me. Creative writing is a much longer, less
instant process and I studied it for my undergraduate work, unlike songwriting.
So, I guess there is a more formal approach to it. Lines for poems and ideas for
flash fiction come randomly like lyrics but I enjoy odd themes. Such as narrating
through the point of view of a discarded pair of goggles. Or comparing a
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windsock to a missing trunk of a
giant orange elephant. Just odd
stuff that doesn’t fit into a soulful
Story writing is much more
painstaking because you need much
more buy-in and convincing from
the audience than you do for a
twenty line poem or a three minute
song. It has to be believable and
hold interest. It’s a crazy process for
me that I just learned to go with. I
usually get an idea at around 5 am
on my commute, jot down a rough
synopsis and character sketches at
work and cough out a rough draft on
a break and lunch. I might record
more anecdotal notes on my way
home. Then, it sits for at least a
week. From there, it is carefully re-read, many revisions are made and the
writing critique groups have their say. There is a lot more structure to creative
writing, even though I will be working on eight pieces at once. It isn’t much
different than when I have the mic on for melodies that just come out of
nowhere with a set of chords. I might work on several songs at once too. When
inspiration hits, I have to be there for it, all the way. Thanks to my career change,
I have that chance to fully focus on creativity. -Tom Hilton, Aldora Britain Records: A B Records Issue 55 (July 2021).pdf - Google Drive
"Lucky Overton is persistent. The hard work compliments Lucky's sincere, soulful acoustic sound. I hate to use the term "Americana folk," but it just fits so well. It is good, though. His lyrics are thoughtful and reflective and the music sets the perfect mood for a dimly lit bar or coffeehouse. When people think about a modern Zane Grey, sitting around Flagstaff downtown, looking for inspiration in a distant place, this is the music playing in the background. This guy could make a ton of side cash being a sonic muse for up and coming writers. You know you're good when you could probably make a killing inspiring things around you."
-Mike Williams , The Noise, 5/01/08, www.thenoise.us/Noise
"With an acoustic guitar, an earthy voice and biting wit, Lucky tells irresistibly down home, edgy stories. College Town is Dirty Americana at its best!"
-Beth Dennison, Guerrilla Propaganda
"College Town came out May first...but I don't think any of these songs are about tourism. There are references to being out of gas, never turning back, broken bottles, railroad tracks and such standard fare for right before the electric guitar kicks in and sends us home.
"My Braces" mentions that Overton indeed lives in this college town. It's a good slow builder, life affirming, with a little sorrow attached like the braces to the narrator's legs. It's a short one. It's nice and kind of exemplifies the personal over political, but it's all political - political subject matter of the album.
The album features a cadre of excellent local musicians, which create a dynamic community feel, and Overton's voice is great. On the other hand, "Black and Blue" is excellent, because it's more intimate, just the man and his guitar. The man can roll a good song alone. The horns on closing track, "Plane to North Carolina" are just perfect sweet and close out the album with distinction.
Anyways, don't burn Lucky Overton's new CD College Town. It is a great album. Catch one of Flagstaff's finest songwriters soon."
-Chipotle Frank, The Noise, 6/01/2008, www.thenoise.us/Noise
"Lucky Overton's debut CD, The Portland Sessions-EP is a collection of powerful original acoustic material. The ever present raw emotion of each song is both clear and honest."