Matt Andersen & Mariel Buckley
Under 21 with Guardian
Award-winning Canadian blues guitarist and singer/songwriter Matt Andersen is known as one of Canada's hardest-working musicians, averaging around 200 live performances per year. Specializing in an earthy blend of blue-collar folk, electric blues, and roots rock, the New Brunswick native began his musical career in 2002 with the group Flat Top. He issued his solo debut, Second Time Around, in 2007, followed in 2008 by Something in Between and in 2009 by Piggyback, the latter of which was a collaboration with acclaimed harmonica player Mike Stevens. That same year he issued his first concert album, Live from the Phoenix Theatre, and later his first collection of holiday music, Christmas Time. A pair of studio albums, Push Record (with Mike Stevens) and Coal Miner Blues, followed in 2011. The Steve Berlin-produced Weightless, his debut long-player for the True North label, arrived in 2014, earning Andersen a Juno nomination for Roots & Traditional Album of the Year. For his follow-up, he traveled to New York, working with producer Commissioner Gordon (Amy Winehouse, Joss Stone) to record 2016's Honest Man. The concert album Live at Olympic Hall appeared in 2018, and featured Andersen backed by his band the Mellotones at the historic Halifax, Nova Scotia venue.
Unapologetically genuine, wry, and soft-hearted - Mariel Buckley has planted her flag firmly as a songwriter who’s in it for the long haul. She aims to find herself squarely on the fringes and exactly where she belongs: singing and writing songs for the underdog.
Her candor and magnetic live show have been charming listeners across North America since her debut LP, Driving In The Dark . With some impressive accolades on the way including Roots Artist of the Year (Western Canadian Music Awards, 2019), and taking home the grand prize of $100,000 from the year long Project Wild commercial radio artist contest, Mariel was ready for her next move.
Now with her debut album and thousands of miles under her belt, Buckley looks to turn country/folk music on its head, with her follow-up album, Everywhere I Used To Be . Anchored by the haunting whine of the pedal steel, rounded out by heavy synth pads and produced by Marcus Paquin (The Weather Station, The Barr Brothers, Arcade Fire, The National), the resulting collection is a driving, swooning, toe-tapping catharsis; sealed and delivered by Buckley’s signature crooning brand of angst-ridden alt-folk.
Buckley and Paquin made an intentional move towards decidedly pop/contemporary production, and quickly found themselves in a daily rhythm of deconstructing and rebuilding each song to find its full potential. Backed by some of Canada’s finest session musicians, their collective efforts are showcased with abundant heart, and skillful flourishes while respecting the space necessary for the songs to speak.
Perhaps her mysterious ambiguity around genre, traditional storytelling, and identity is what gives these new songs such an honest shine. Buckley continues to be a trailblazer in her own right, with a firm grip on the steering wheel and a destination in mind - we’re just happy to be along for the ride.