About T. Buckley
T. Buckley’s songs blew across the prairies like a Nor’easter, hanging on to their creator as he stormed into the Calgary scene. Sprinkling bits of East Coast lore seemed natural to Buckley, a Calgary native, considering his extended clan was still making music in those parts. Like the wave of Maritimers who’d left home for the promise of the West, Buckley fused those distinct regions of Canada in his early compositions, producing two albums as leader of renowned Calgary group The T. Buckley Trio.
Some of the West’s most mystifying behaviour was captured in Buckley’s songs, often driving the emotional intensity of his lyrics. A lover whisked away by a wheatland gust. Partner’s moods as unpredictable as a prairie spring day. Down-and-out characters who linger under the radar of one of the richest cities in the world. With feet solidly planted on prairie soil, buffered by the foothills of his hometown, Buckley established himself as central to the Calgary roots and country music scenes, with weekly residencies at some of the city’s top venues. Embraced by his fellow songwriters and his audience, he soon found himself travelling to Folk Alliance conferences supported by local promoters, and conducting regional tours that introduced him to a Western Canadian audience. The T. Buckley Trio, made up of fellow Calgarians Derek Pulliam and Tim Leacock, were known for their tight instrumentals behind Buckley’s smooth vocals. His new approach to roots and country music, influenced by songwriters like J.J. Cale, Guy Clark, and Lyle Lovett, made him an intergenerational favourite.
Buckley could have easily kept his tunes on the straight country roads between Red Deer and Nanton, between Lethbridge and Fort MacLeod. Instead he veered off course, landing in the Banff Centre for the Arts for its inaugural singer-songwriter residency. Chosen by Banff Centre Director of Presenting Allison Brock, Buckley immersed himself in the rigour of the workshops, recording demos while the sun sprinkled warmth over the mountain snow. Recording engineer Howard Bilerman awaited the new compositions, a slightly unnerving prospect for Buckley. “I didn’t know if this guy from Montreal was going to get my songs,” he says. But the in-studio chemistry was undeniable, and soon Buckley found himself on a new stylistic route, eschewing his country past for a slicker sound.
In February of 2018, Buckley flew to Montreal to finish what he’d started with Bilerman. The result is a new album, backed by a new band. A new T. Buckley. Marriage, fatherhood, and a solid music career to date could have engendered complacency; instead Buckley investigates these transformations from the older, wiser position he now occupies. “I felt myself getting a bit stagnant as far as writing,” he says. “It just felt like it was time to shake things up and take some creative risks.” Miles We Put Behind is a collection of mature, introspective songs, interrogating what it means to be a husband, father, and most importantly, keen observer of the world around him. Buckley’s characters are more layered and complex than ever, contemplating their inner turmoil and the vexing vagaries of close relationships. And with a new band featuring Fats Kaplin, Chloe Albert, Lisa Crawley, Mike O’Brien, Matthew Woodley, Max Henry and Josh Toal, his sound represents his personal transformations, revealing a more vulnerable self on songs like “Least a Man Can Do.” Where T. Buckley goes next is as yet unknown, but his determination to push past creative roadblocks and stylistic constraints means he is an artist only at the beginning of a long career.