À Ottawa, y a Lucky Ron

It’s not every day I get turned away from a bar at 4:30 in the afternoon. But this wasn’t any ordinary day, and this wasn’t any ordinary place. This was Saturday afternoon at the Château Lafayette during Lucky Ron’s weekly show and, needless to say, the place was rammed. The doorman wasn’t hearing any of it.
“We’re over capacity,” he shrugged.
“I have to cover this show,” I protested weakly. “It’s for the media.”
His face changed and he suggested I go around, past Quizno’s and through the back door. It was solid advice. Two minutes later I was inside the ‘Laff’ and screaming along with a hundred other rabid Lucky Ron fans, each of them looking under 25 and loving every minute of it.
The music stopped for a few moments. “Number four!” an audience member screamed, the crowd applauding, and Ron immediately launched into “The Battle of New Orleans,” a song I remembered from my last Lucky Ron experience around five years ago.
I hadn’t set foot in the ‘Laff since , but this place was eerily familiar — back then, we’d sipped on the bar’s trademark quarts of Labatt 50 while a beefy, surly bartender wiped down tables. The bar was dark and dingy.
This was before renovations put a shine in the Château Lafayette’s step and a submarine shop in it front lobby. Back then, Ron regularly played his sets to crowds of around seven or eight.
“It’s a different generation of young people,” that have taken up the Lucky Ron banner, he told me after his most recent show. “There’s no real reason,” for his latest upswing in popularity.
“It’s just a new audience, and (my career) has gone like this quite often. It goes through phases.”
Indeed, Lucky Ron (born Ron Burke) has plied his trade in Ottawa for over 20 years, banging out everything from rockabilly to old country in bars all over the city including the old Downstairs Club (which he briefly turned into his own bar, called Lucky Ron’s).
His famous Lucky Ron show, which began at Mexicali Rosa’s and later migrated to the ‘Laff, turns 21 this Feb. 1. And though he’s always been an Ottawa cult favourite, even Burke says the sheer number of people flocking to his shows each Saturday even surprises him a little
“I counted 103 on the (hand) ticker,” said Burke, who’s even taken frequent runs for the mayor’s office during his time in Ottawa. “I’ve had maybe 20 generations of people, you know, and this is just another hot (time).”
His wife, Kathleen, usually helps with sound and management and even has her own band, The McGillicuddy Sisters, who opened for Blue Rodeo at last year’s Bluesfest. He’s even written a few songs for the six-person country troupe, but Burke said he’s always happiest when he’s playing live music, either as a solo act or in bands.
“I was always a lead guitarist in rock & roll bands,” he smiled. “We actually had a western swing band called The Black Donnellys. We never formally broke up, actually, It just got too hard to get everybody together because we had 10 members, two trumpets, you know. The whole kit & caboodle.”
The waitress squeezed herself through the crowd. I ordered a bottle of Labatt and settled into my seat, feeling just like old times. I couldn’t hide my smile. “Tillsonburg!” Burke crooned into the mike, his eyes gleaming.
“Tillsonburg!” the room exploded, on-beat, and I laughed.
Some things never change
Frank pis J.R ! Lisez cela!
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2 Commentaires

Classé dans Saveur du jour

2 réponses à “À Ottawa, y a Lucky Ron

  1. JR

    As-tu envie de dire qu’il jouerait encore? On veux une répponse:-)

  2. Elizabeth

    Dans l’article je pense que ça ne le dis pas.

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