Mariel Buckley

Feature Release


One would wonder, was Mariel Buckley a precocious youngster that coloured outside the lines?  If we asked her younger self, she’d most likely have replied ‘Who said that’s where the lines should be?’.  The singer songwriter from Calgary, Alberta, has defied those lines when it comes to music as well.  Born and raised smack dab in the middle of Canada’s trad country music belt, Buckley has struck a chord, both sonically and philosophically when it comes to feeling comfortable expressing herself as someone that’s knocked down genre fences.  Buckley’s signature crooning brand of angst-ridden alt-folk anti-americana has quickly established herself as one of the most satiating artists with a modern take on country.  Music for underdogs.

Buckley’s 2018 self-released debut album, Driving In The Dark, is a 10 song collection of driving country gems.   Every song allows for beautifully, roomy instrumentation that lets her lyrics really settle in and sit a spell with the listener.  The title track starts with ‘Never been a gambler’, but that couldn’t be further from the truth for this author of telling the truth, no matter how high the stakes.  What truly drives Buckley’s approach to truth telling is her ability to question what society far too casually accepts.  

In 2022 Buckley released her critically acclaimed sophomore album, Everywhere I Used To Be (Birthday Cake Records).  It quickly gained attention, and speed – holding court on coveted playlists and radio rotation, critic’s picks and long form interviews including  No Depression, NPR’s Great American Folk Show, Brooklyn Vegan, New Music Canada, Americana UK and Sirius XM’s North Americana.  The Polaris Music Prize nominated album has been further decorated with two nods from the Western Canada Music Awards for Breakout Artist of the Year and Roots Album of the Year.  

Song titles, including Going Nowhere, Hate This Town, Horse Named Nothing and Love Ain’t Enough heavily underscore the subject matter that Buckley tackles with intentional rawness, “When I wrote this record, l felt myself becoming clearer in the process. I became softer in my personal life and sharper in my songs. I finally saw the person, musician and songwriter I wanna be coming into focus, all together. Mental illness, addiction, bad choices and abusive relationships have made that journey really fucking long, and really difficult. It felt like coming home. Selfishly, this album gave me something I’d been looking for my whole life. I hope to give people a chance to hear themselves in these stories.

When you grow up as the town freak, you get used to hiding who you are to become more palatable for those around you. While I've been great at speaking my mind in person, my music has often remained a vague, if not softer representation of my stuff, until now. All I said about my life in direct detail on my last record was that I was ‘kept a secret’ - and I couldn’t go any deeper.”

The cut to the bone biting lyrics that hold real estate on Everywhere I Used To Be are, at times married to, at times juxtaposed to, the meticulously appointed instrumentation that Buckley and producer, Marcus Paquin (The Weather Station, The Barr Brothers, Arcade Fire, The National, Julia Jacklin) chose for each of the 10 tracks. Gritty and fuzzy emo-esque guitars, driving deep-groove drums, soaring mournful slide guitar will have you crying in your beer one moment, and next inducing an undeniable anthemic singalong euphoria. One such toe-tapping catharsis that has you belting out the chorus of Let You Down - “Why, in slow motion, does goodbye feel so blue? What am I gonna do without you?”.   Back that one up and repeat, please!

“This is a major step forward for Buckley.  Her palpable confidence in her talent, along with some hypnotic melodies, is on track to making her a significant alt-county/ Americana presence.” – Holler.Country

Her live journey has been a strong, steady climb – SXSW, Americanafest Nashville, Jackalope Festival, Edmonton and Winnipeg Folk Festivals, European and American tours, as well as sharing stages and audiences with Matt Andersen, Orville Peck, K.D. Lang and The Bros Landreth.  Buckley frequents the stage around Western Canada with talented brother, T Buckley, serving up their Buckley style of country.  Earlier in 2023, the two released a hauntingly beautiful cover of The Tragically Hip’s quintessential campfire hit, Bobcaygeon.

Up next, more trailblazing as one of this generation’s brightest shining storytellers will no doubt be a feast for your ears and emotions.

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