“Keep The Wolves Away” by Uncle Lucius Goes Gold Amid Revival

Kevin Galloway of Uncle Lucius (photo: Brad Coolidge)

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.

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