The Lucky Dutch buries the night at Trolley Stop
By Gary Spencer
Photo: The Lucky Dutch’s (l-r) Claire Corriveau, Ben Dacoba, Nathan Graham, and David Padula get hot and heavy at Trolley Stop Feb. 18
Blues music, or simply the blues, is as American as baseball and apple pie. With roots situated in the Deep South as the 19th century rolled into the 20th, the genre has morphed and shape shifted as the decades have passed. No matter how it’s presented or played, the blues is one of the most instantly recognizable styles of music ever created.
With the advent of technology, acoustic blues graduated into electric blues circa World War II, which later gave way to blues rock, a marriage made in heaven between electric blues and the then-burgeoning genre called rock and roll. Thanks to the purveyance of legendary British Invasion bands like The Rolling Stones and The Yardbirds, this strain of the blues became massively popular in the 1960s. Since then, despite the occasional blues guitar sensation à la Stevie Ray Vaughan, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Susan Tedeschi, or Joe Bonamassa reaching worldwide renown, the marriage of blues and pure rock and roll has become more obscure the further we delve into the millennium.
However, there are still bands that carry the torch for blues traditions facing potential extinction; one of the best is Chicago’s The Lucky Dutch.
“Our mission is to continue the lineage of rock and roll with solid writing and great live shows,” The Lucky Dutch bassist David Padula says. “People are always saying rock is dead, but there are always stories to tell and solos to play.
“Everything comes from the blues. Whether it’s the foundation for a rock riff or a jazz progression, blues is the base of our style.”
The Lucky Dutch was born in the Windy City circa 2008 and currently consists of Nathan Graham (guitar, vocals), Claire Corriveau (keys, vocals), David Padula (bass), and Ben Dacoba (drums). According to Padula, the formation of the band was happenstance.
“Nate got kicked out of his previous project and decided to start The Lucky Dutch,” Padula says. “He and Claire had been working together on some recording projects at college and worked well together when writing. We met through a mutual friend, and a year later, we were searching for a drummer, and Ben volunteered.”
Upon listening to The Lucky Dutch, one can hear elements of Gov’t Mule, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Rival Sons, and of course, the legendary Stevie Ray Vaughan, all united under a subdued yet noticeable groove. But one thing that really makes the group stand out from their contemporary blues rock brethren is the heaviness of their sound. Yes, heavy. The guitars are laid on thick and distorted in a way that almost creeps into metal territory, but that’s just part of what makes The Lucky Dutch special in a sea of dime-a-dozen blues and roots rock bands.
“The weight is intentional, because we don’t want to be a bar blues band or a pop rock band,” Padula explains.
Another key element that sets The Lucky Dutch apart is their focus on writing original songs, which also thwarts a common blues and roots rock stereotype. The strength of their songwriting writing is remarkable, and the band has released two full-length albums to showcase that talent. The group only gets better with age, as they’ll soon prove on their next album.
“Bury the Night was a good start, but our sophomore album Cadillac Coffin, released in May 2016, stands head and shoulders above that – we really tightened up on that record,” Padula says. “We are currently working on our third full-length release, to be recorded and released during 2017.”
As tight as their records are, seeing The Lucky Dutch live is something that must be experienced in the flesh. The band has played for packed crowds from New York to California and everywhere in between.
“Our live show is energetic to say the least,” Padula says. “We all feed off each other onstage and each of us knows where the others are going sonically and can follow without hesitation. It’s definitely different than the record. We try not to play everything exactly as we recorded it—that wouldn’t be very interesting at all.”
As for any notions that blues and straight ahead rock and roll have become antiquated and irrelevant in 2017, Padula believes that these forms of musical expression are just as timely now as they ever were. “There will always be a market for people who love roots music,” he says. “It’s the original American art form, having developed over a century. Fan-wise, the people who grew up on this music are now adults and want to hear something that connects them to their past. Blues and rock are also associated with protest and denial of authority. In the current climate, we need all the strength we’ve got to resist.”
The Lucky Dutch performs Saturday, Feb. 18 at The Trolley Stop, 530 E. Fifth St. in the Oregon District. Show is 21 and over, and music begins at 9:30 p.m. For more information, please visit TheLuckyDutch.com or