Essentials… with T. Buckley
Each week, Essentials allows Canadian musicians to share the things that have helped get through through the pandemic, and why they still can’t live without them. Here are the choices of an eloquent Calgary songsmith.
By Jason Schneider
Each week, Essentials allows Canadian musicians to share the things that have helped get through through the pandemic, and why they still can’t live without them.
On his new album Frame By Frame, T. Buckley presents a collection of moments looking back at our families, communities, lovers and friends—those closest to us, who make us who we are, from the touching moments to the dark truths. As we continue to grapple with our personal disconnection over the past two years, the 10 songs on Frame By Frame balance both sides of that divide, delving into the bleakness and offering guidance to help us re-connect to what’s important. With his sharply honed storytelling skills on full display, Frame By Frame illustrates why Buckley has earned a place in the conversation about Canada’s best singer/songwriters.
Recorded at Studio Bell, located in the National Music Centre in Buckley’s home base, Calgary, Frame By Frame finds him supported by a stellar cast of musicians including multi-instrumentalists Mitch Jay and Jesse Dollimont, keyboardist Steve Fletcher, bassist Keith Rempel and drummer Dan Stadnicki. With producer/engineer Jeff Kynoch (Cayley Thomas, Altameda) behind the board, the album carries forward the approach of Buckley’s acclaimed 2018 release Miles We Put Behind, harkening back to the sounds of the Laurel Canyon folk-rock scene in the late ‘60s, sprinkled with synthesizers and chorus pedals giving the album a lush well-rounded sound and a definite departure from the sparser Texas troubadour tones that marked his past work.
Embracing such ideas in his music is what makes T. Buckley a true craftsman. That skill has been evident since 2008 when he first appeared on the scene with the T. Buckley Trio, producing three full-length albums all crammed with images of forgotten lovers, sunken-eyed truck drivers and the unassailable rural spirit.
T. Buckley’s Frame By Frame is out Nov. 5 via Fallen Tree Records and on all digital platforms. He will be performing around Alberta throughout November, and for more information go to tbuckley.ca.
Essential Album: Emmylou Harris, Wrecking Ball (Elektra, 1995)
During Covid I had a small cohort of musical pals who helped me record my latest album, Frame By Frame. Leading up to our time in studio we would get together often and have listening sessions where we would share material that we loved and albums that we thought fit the vibe of the tunes that I had written for my record. One of these listening sessions was actually the first time I ever heard Wrecking Ball, which I am embarrassed to say as it is so brilliant. There are so many rich musical textures supporting Emmylou’s iconic voice; I haven’t been able to turn it off since.
Essential Book: Lisa McInerney, The Glorious Heresies (John Murray, 2015)
I’m reading this book right now. It’s set in modern-day Cork, Ireland, and is a grim telling of the state of affairs in a broken-down town. Great writing and character development and lots of twists and turns along the way.
Essential TV:Maid (Netflix, 2021)
My wife and I just watched this miniseries. I thought it was brilliantly done, and I feel like it’s a show everyone should watch. It contains so much great commentary on the power dynamic between men and women and how folks get stuck in the dangerous cycle of abusive relationships.
Essential Movie:Blinded By The Light (2019)
I just watched this movie on Netflix about a Pakistani teenager growing up in the small British town of Luton in the late ‘80s. He’s an aspiring poet, navigating the expectations of his immigrant family, his own independence, and racial tensions in Thatcher-era England, all while trying to get a girlfriend. One day his buddy gives him a Bruce Springsteen tape, and it becomes his soundtrack and inspiration to follow his heart and break away from the things that are holding him down. It’s super heart-warming and I found myself a little teary-eyed at times as it reminds you how powerful music can be, especially when you’re coming of age. I’ve been listening to a lot of Springsteen again after watching this one.