T. BUCKLEY - ROLL ON
T. is Tim, no relation the 60's-70's artist, and father of Jeff, but it does mean he has to go by the initial. That's okay, I like it, it's cool. This T. Buckley is from Calgary, one of the rising stars of the roots scene in the city, winning the Folk Festival songwriting contest there, plus a big recording grant. The result is his debut album, recently released, and an exploratory cross-country trip to spread the word, on one of those VIA Rail on-board entertainment programs. That's brought him out east to my neck of the woods and interest.
Buckley fits in nicely with the traditional Alberta country scene, which is crossed with the folk storytelling tradition and a little of the rowdy cowboy style as well. He's equal parts Ian Tyson and Corb Lund, both name-checked in the title track here. Like other non-Nashville writers, he comes up with better traditional country material than the freshly-scrubbed types of that city. His "A Thousand Times" is an excellent Everly Brothers-Louvin Brothers number, with the high, close harmonies. "Hank Williams Songs (Just Remind Me Of You)" is another excellent one, squeezing as many Hank song titles into the lyrics as he can, as another woman walks away. These are the tunes that follow the country line more, but Buckley can also Outlaw it up, with "Medicine Line" a strong rocker with a wild-at-heart storyline.
If Austin, Texas wasn't now filled with every alt-anything band and hipster scenemaker, I'd suggest Buckley fits in nicely with the kind of songwriter that city produces, or used to produce: the authentic roots performer who worries about the song first, the performance second, the audience next and the image last. Roll On is filled with strong images, concise writing and memorable melodies. Buckley's on the East Coast right now, at:
Vintage Bistro & Lounge, Hampton NB Thurs, Apr. 7
Backstreet Records, Saint John NB Fri, Apr. 8
The Company House, Halifax, NS Fri, Apr. 15