“Keep The Wolves Away” by Uncle Lucius Goes Gold Amid Revival
It’s a rare feat these days with the bifurcated and spider-veined nature of our society that any song punches through the noise of everyday life to become sustainably popular like we used to see in previous musical eras, especially from a band with no mainstream radio play or major label backing, and one that’s no longer even around. But such is the fate for the song “Keep The Wolves Away” by the bygone Austin-based band Uncle Lucius.
Uncle Lucius played their final show in March of 2018 to a packed room at Gruene Hall in Texas, but the legacy of the band has continued to resonate through their music even here into 2021. On January 21st, “Keep The Wolves Away” was Certified Gold by the RIAA—something we’ve only seen for the topmost names in independent country and roots like Tyler Childers and Cody Jinks. As inexplicable as it seems for an Uncle Lucius songs to reach this benchmark, the songs has earned this distinction by proving to be eternally poignant.
Written by the band’s lead singer and frontman Kevin Galloway, the song recalls the story of Galloway’s dad, who was severely injured in a chemical accident on a tanker ship in the Galveston Bay, and how henceforth, the family struggled to make ends meet. In the song, the “wolves” are an allusion to all the things that pursue us, from hunger, to bill collectors, to things inside of us such as depression and sorrow, to carnal desires like addiction.
“Keep The Wolves Away” has long been the signature song from Uncle Lucius and a popular track in Texas music circles. But then 2020 happened, and has spilled into 2021. That has made the song a go-to anthem for so many, with the words and story seeming to strike right at the heart of their difficult circumstances, no matter what they are, and help shepherd them through.
The video for the song has also remained strongly popular, and received renewed interest over the past year. Racking up now well over 70 million views, reading through the comments section of new messages is like going to a confessional, with struggling people finding solace in the song and the video’s message.
Some of the comments are very specific. “I’m a 34 year old father of 2. I work in a coal power station. Hats off to anyone that fights off their wolves everyday!” one reads from January. “I fight a pack of wolves every second of everyday. I’ve been struggling to stay sober bc I’ve wasted to many years of my life running with the same wolves that now have turned on me. Im blessed that my father is and has been the rock in my life. Guilt overcomes me when thoughts burn through my mind of all the wasted memories that I destroyed by worrying about when I needed my fix.”
Another simply states, “I’m a father of 5. Oilfield salesman. Former drug addict. Trying to keep the wolves away.”
Over the last year with so many succumbing to addiction, struggling with thoughts of suicide, losing their jobs, seeing their families torn apart, and struggling to pay bills, “Keep The Wolves Away” isn’t just as relevant as ever, it’s arguably more relevant than anything else released since, at least for some, if not many. And it may be just the thing to get you through another day.
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“Keep The Wolves Away” originally appeared on the Uncle Lucius album And You Are Me from 2012. Lead singer and songwriter Kevin Galloway launched a solo career in 2018, and released an album The Change.
Thanks to Galleywinter for pointing out the Gold Certification.
March 25, 2021 @ 11:34 am
It was also used in a closing scene of Yellowstone and probably helped it resurface as well
March 25, 2021 @ 12:49 pm
Good point. “Yellowstone” was one of the things that put Whiskey Myers over the top and minting Gold singles.
You expose an audience to songs like these, and they fall in love.
April 3, 2021 @ 7:59 am
Strange that “FM” can’t see the same…
March 5, 2023 @ 11:18 pm
Yeah to all of the fake cowboys like yourself maybe haha
December 25, 2022 @ 10:10 am
Yup – this sort of music doesn’t have much of a following in Europe – only found it due to Yellowstone – great song
March 25, 2021 @ 12:51 pm
Wow, hadn’t heard it. Love it a lot.
Good on him.
March 25, 2021 @ 1:33 pm
I followed Uncle Lucius for years and was sad to see them break up. Enjoyed all their music and if you haven’t heard them look them up. They have a lot of good music
March 25, 2021 @ 1:42 pm
I recently moved back to my hometown which is surrounded by the world’s largest petrochemical complex, a couple of carbon black plants, fertilizer plant, and too many gas plants to count. This song is an anthem here. Everyone, including myself, can relate.
March 25, 2021 @ 3:24 pm
Poignant- but that doesn’t do the emotion justice.
November 6, 2021 @ 11:03 am
I grew up and still live in Clute Texas . 6 blocks away from Dow. We live within danger wherever we live. To me keeping the wolves away is an anthem to all my friends and family that workut the wolf that haunts me is my depression.
Thank you for this song I love it.
March 25, 2021 @ 3:30 pm
One of the best songs to come out of the Texas scene in the last decade. Wish I had gotten to see them play it before they broke up.
March 25, 2021 @ 3:49 pm
Poignant is right.
Impressive vocals and production.
March 25, 2021 @ 5:01 pm
Very deserving, awesome song, and undeniably well written.
There’s something in the song’s melody that really triggers YouTube’s algos too if you let youtube autoplay from an Americana-esque selection. I used to get that video constantly, even though I had never searched for it.
I’m sure I’m not the only one, so that might have helped their numbers.
March 25, 2021 @ 11:49 pm
Good to see this. You guys were one of my favorite recordings I did when I first got to Austin. And good to see everyone. Always enjoyed what you wrote and performed and happy to be a part of the beginning! Congratulations. Well deserved…
March 27, 2021 @ 4:53 am
Galloway is still touring. He’s coming to a venue in The Woodlands. Seeing this prompted me to go ahead and purchase my tickets. I’m sure they’ll sell out soon.
March 27, 2021 @ 9:59 am
I survived an RR Accident that ended my RR Career, and Struggled with Depression and a Loss of Purpose, I then had to Retrain in a totally different Field (Medical) but had to fight to keep the wolves away for quite a few years to stay above water, this song puts it into perspective for all those struggling
April 14, 2021 @ 8:34 pm
How can I send this guy $?
August 23, 2022 @ 1:25 pm
I’m sure it’s a little late but you could have replied to his comment asking him how to send him money. I’m assuming you meant the guy who made the comment above your’s that worked for the railroad. Either way I just want to say thank you for thinking about helping another person. I am glad to see it and it makes me happy that there are good folks in the world.
May 5, 2021 @ 7:58 pm
Mike Carpenter is our nephew and played lead guitar in Uncle Lucius. We so enjoyed attending events listening and watching the success and popularity of the band build. We are so proud of Mike. Wayne & Vikki Carpenter Galveston Texas.
Thomas A. Stokes
September 20, 2021 @ 8:21 pm
This song hit me hard. For nearly thirty years I was a Railroad Locomotive Engineer. Had a stroke operating my train. I was put out to pasture (medically retired) and that’s when the wolves came out. We (my family) lost everything. The last ten years have been a struggle but I’m glad to still be here. I’m blessed in so many ways with; my faith in the Lord, a lovely, loving wife, six adult children, and ten grandchildren.
One of my favorite quotes is:
“Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes. You must look into that storm and shout as you did in Rome. Do your worst, for I will do mine! Then the fates will know you as we know you”.
Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo