Buckley’s In Denial Leaves Him Singing on the Tracks
The opening lick of Bud Buckley’s latest EP In Denial brings a welcomed, warm smile to my face; the kind of smile one gets when walking into a local coffee shop on a snowy day to sit down to a cup of warm cocoa with a friend. The cover shows Buckley playing guitar like nothing matters and nothing is wrong in the world, while a train heads down the track he stands on playing a C chord. The imagery fits perfectly with what many independent artists go through. So many of those songwriters strum their guitars and sing out their pain to the audience warmly drinking cocoa among friends – ignoring the train coming down the tracks in the themes brought on by the local talent.
Buckley opens with “Had to Pretend,” which keys us in to the game played in relationships as well as musicians trying to make it. The first line plays with lyrics about closing eyes and pretending not to see the crossing of thighs nor wanting to scream as she walks away, which recalls the cover with back turned against the brutal truth of a train coming. This interplay of themes and ideas makes Buckley’s songs sing out to intellectuals looking for poetry in lyrics. The structure of each song showcases the fine guitar work without making any individual solo an overbearing thing. The passion in the vocals drives each song through to its next riff. Another great line followed by a quick lick is, “I lived for each moment, and usually they’d explode all over you” in “It’s Been Fun.” The repeated idea, “maybe there’s more to come” fits right into the recurring metaphors of denial perfectly. That gift to relate music, art, and lyrics is what keeps me a fan of Buckley’s.
As an extra treat to any newer fans, Buckley includes “It’s About Time” from his 2007 EP of the same name, and “A Way” from his 2009 EP Sitting on the Wind. I have personally followed and reviewed Buckley’s releases, and am genuinely proud of the mix of past and present he brings now to his fans. Check him out on www.BudBuckley.com where he thinks enough of us to include his lyrics. Train’s coming – get on board with In Denial.
Artist: Bud Buckley
Album: In Denial
Review by Alexa Spieler
In Denial, is an aurally pleasing six-song EP from singer/songwriter, Bud Buckley. Rather than drawing from cookie-cutter influences or bubble-gum modern day music, Buckley’s music consists of thought-provoking lyrics and meaningful songs. What makes In Denial stand out is the substance behind it. Buckley guides each track in its own direction, with his own personal instincts and musical influences. In a time where musicians are prone to paying off writers to write their lyrics, Buckley does things the right way by performing and writing all of his music. Buckley is a class act who holds a voice of reason and has substantial music.
The EP kicks off with the bluesy track titled “Had To Pretend”. Buckley’s voice is powerful and emotional, accompanied with guitar undertones. One of the best aspects is the screaming electric guitar, wailing away in perfection. In the rhythm section, everything is tight and compacted, providing the perfect instrumentation. The combination of the strong guitar work, rocking drums, and Buckley’s passionate vocals, provides the perfect song to kick off In Denial.
“I Need” follows with drums that are lighter this time around, but still provide the right combination of fills and time-keeping to keep one’s heading nodding along. The guitar work is lighter too, with no dark undertones, but is still great. This laid-back, bluesy love song lightens the mood surrounding In Denial in the best way. Rather than subjecting himself to the technological enhancements provided by today’s music industry – such as synthesizers and Auto-Tune, Buckley stays true to musicianship and real instrumentation. He even contributes some interesting elements to the song, such as the addition of organ work.
Buckley keeps the laid-back atmosphere going with the track, “It’s Been Fun”. A cymbal groove sets the pace, accompanied with the light strumming of the acoustic guitar. Buckley guides listeners through the duration of this love song, with his heartfelt lyrics and beautiful instrumentation. Buckley sings from the heart and there’s nothing more you could ask of from an artist.
Though the EP concludes after four songs, two bonus tracks finish off the EP’s bonus version: “A Way” and “Keeping Secrets”. These two tracks had originally been on earlier releases from Buckley. With “A Way”, the layering of guitar undertones drives the track full force, along with the backing of the drums. On the contrary, “Keeping Secrets” is moving and grooving throughout, as it even draws from a light Latin influence. The drummer sets the pace with an array of fills and intriguing grooves. Light orchestral-based elements accompany the heavy, grooving drumming, which provides the perfect combination that really sets this track apart from the rest. “Keeping Secrets” is the perfect way to conclude the EP: you’ll be left standing up and dancing to the beat and that’s a guarantee.
Bud Buckley isn’t just another artist seeking fame, fortune, or glamour. On the contrary, Buckley speaks from the soul and performs from the heart. His music is honest and real and there is nothing fabricated about that. From one track to another, the listener is never bored. Buckley’s work is sincere and passionate and what should be played on the radio these days. Artists should take a pointer or two from Buckley, because he’s doing everything right. His arrangements are mature and prove his experience in the music industry. Buckley is exactly what the music industry needs right now.
If you’re looking for music with substance that your ears will be thanking you for, then In Denial is the EP for you.
5 out of 5 stars
Review By: Alexa Spieler
Artist: Bud Buckley
Album: In Denial
Review by: Alec Cunningham
If ever there was an EP to display the true talent of an artist, this would be the one. On In Denial, Buckley mixes the sounds of multiple artists such as John Mayer, Bob Dylan, Peter Gabriel and the like to create his own original sound – a sound that complements his voice along with his eclectic style of music. Each of his songs is comprised of either an acoustic guitar, an electric, or a combination of the two, but he also employs a number of artists to contribute other instruments such as a violin, drums, bass, keys on the EP.
Buckley’s blues-infused guitar style and raspy rocker voice makes “Had To Pretend” one of the best songs on the EP. Emotion pours out of his voice in a way that makes the song even that much more captivating. Throughout the song, Buckley lists all of the things that he has had to pretend not to do (“I had to pretend when you walked away I didn’t want to scream your name out loud . . . I had to pretend that I didn’t live to see your smile.”) He hopes that their relationship evolves into something where he doesn’t have to pretend anymore. At the end, Buckley creatively changes the last chorus to say that they have finally made it to that point where he doesn’t have to pretend any longer.
“I Need” is a beautifully constructed song both melodically and lyrically. Buckley combines a more country guitar tone with detailed, innovative lyrics that tell of his need for a certain woman in his life. The personal feel of the song is what makes it so easy to relate to, because we all have someone that we care as deeply for as the feelings he portrays in his song say for his own life.
The bonus tracks, songs 5 and 6 on In Denial, were featured previously on two of Buckley’s earlier releases; “A Way” was released in 2009 on Sitting On The Wind and “Keeping Secrets” on It’s About Time in 2007. In “A Way,” Buckley utilizes a simple melody that doesn’t draw too much attention to itself or take away from the rest of the song in order to emphasize the impact of his lyrics. The song’s mellow music will take you out of the worry of your everyday life and transport you to somewhere far more serene. Buckley, however, offers a subject for you to think about within each of his songs, and “A Way,” for instance suggests that we all need to take responsibility for our actions and to make a change today instead of waiting for a later opportunity. “Keeping Secrets” is another song about the troubles of a relationship. Buckley remains within his same general genre but creatively adds Spanish guitar sounds and solos instead. He talks of a specific day they spent skipping rocks by the lake and sings, “I love you too much to admit we’re through,” an honest confession that is likely to tug at your own heart strings.
Buckley tells an intimate story within each of the songs on In Denial. His subjects revolve around love, relationships, and everyday problems; he presents them with such honesty that it is very easy to connect to them in some way or another. And since you can’t exactly enclose his sound within a certain genre, country, rock, and blues listeners alike will all easily be able to find something that suits them on In Denial.
Review by: Alec Cunningham
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)
Artist: Bud Buckley
Album: In Denial
Review by Andrea Guy
Bud Buckley offers a pleasant EP of acoustic-based rock. He’s drawn plenty of comparisons to artists such as Paul Simon and Bob Dylan, with good reason. The music on In Denial shares a lot lyrically with the work of both of those iconic artists.
In Denial is a six-song EP featuring four new tracks, as well as two bonus tracks from previous albums and these songs feature some great musicians in the backing band. Deni Bonet lends her violin to the tracks and Scott Petito contributes on bass and keyboards.
The EP opens with the moody rocker “Had To Pretend.” The wailing bluesy guitar gives the tune dark undertones—think 80s Eric Clapton and you have “Had To Pretend.” “I Need” takes the EP to a lighter place, but one that still retains a certain moodiness that is a recurring theme on In Denial. The jangling guitars do their best to lighten the atmosphere of the song, but the tempo is slow and laid-back.
“It’s Been Fun” is a relationship song, but perhaps not in the more traditional vein. No hearts and flowers here but no angst either, because Bud doesn’t write in the traditional vein. When you listen to any given song, you feel like an observer to his world. His songs give you a glimpse into his mind.
Bud’s lyrics draw the listener in, not because they are super-catchy, but more because they make you sit up and pay attention. He’s not singing about puppy dogs and rainbows. He’s singing about life. Maybe that explains the Dylan and Simon comparisons.
In six songs, you really get to know what Bud Buckley’s music is all about, and that’s the music itself. When you listen to In Denial, you are getting music that’s made, not just for your ears, but for your mind.
It isn’t all deep thoughts, though. “Keeping Secrets” from 2007’s It’s About Time shows a fun side to Bud Buckley. This song has a Spanish flair, making it a bit more upbeat than the rest.
The other bonus cut on In Denial is “A Way,” which first appeared on the Sitting On The Wind EP from 2009. This song’s style is more suited to the four new tracks. It is a slow, more acoustic-based track with a strong message.
Unlike much of the music that’s found on the radio today, Bud Buckley delivers songs that might best be described as coffee shop music. Each song seems to be suited for an intimate setting where the music can really flow to the listener.
But Bud offers more than just songs that feed your mind. These songs are beautifully arranged and expertly played. Bud’s backing band is full of established musicians who have played with the likes of Cyndi Lauper, They Might Be Giants and Jill Sobule. When combined with Buckley’s guitar and vocals, they create something close to perfect—music that feeds the mind.
In Denial is a great mixture of old and new. If you have never listened to Buckley’s music before this, it will whet your appetite for more—and thankfully, this isn’t his first offering. It is just a pity that this is only a mere six-song EP, because it won’t be enough to satisfy the needs of anyone that falls in love with the music at first listen.
Anyone looking for a taste of something different should give In Denial a listen. It is a refreshing glimpse of an artist that will stick with you for songs that are more than just catchy choruses and pretty melodies. Give this EP a listen. Your ears will thank you, and so will your brain!
Review by Andrea Guy
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)
Artist: Bud Buckley
Album: In Denial
Review by Gary Hill
Those looking for music that’s got strong connections to classic rock, but still feels quite original, will want to have a listen to this CD. The music presented feels familiar, but never seems to be a direct clone of anything. Canadian Bud Buckley manages to weave a musical tapestry that nods to a lot of other music while still feeling quite original and unique. Musical references as wide ranging as Paul Simon, The Eagles, Steve Miller Band, Blue Oyster Cult and Pink Floyd are valid here.
No matter the musical territory journeyed through on each individual track, Buckley stays true to his musical vision. Nothing here ever feels out of place. It’s a great slice of Americana that has a very short learning curve and provides a lot of entertainment along the way.
Even the musicians playing with Buckley have serious pedigrees. Most notably Ross Rice, who plays the Hammond B3 has played with Peter Frampton, Steve Earle and more and drummer Dan Hickey has played with The B-52s, They Might Be Giants and Cyndi Lauper (among others).
There’s a killer soulful, classic rock sound to the opening cut, “Had to Pretend.” The organ sound is classic and the guitar soloing is tasteful and tasty. It’s also quite bluesy. The classic rock sounds are still present on the next tune, “I Need,” but it’s a different slice of sounds. The opening feels like The Eagles, but the vocals are more like Paul Simon. There are hints of Latin music present and perhaps even a little country.
A slower cut, “It’s Been Fun” really emphasizes that Paul Simon element. The vocal arrangement and musical arrangement also call to mind such bands as America and even The Steve Miller Band at times. A rather balladic cut, “Safe In My Dreams” is perhaps less directly related to the sounds of any particular artist (not that the other tracks were really derivative at all), but rather generally classic rock oriented. At times some of the mellower sounds by Blue Oyster Cult seems a valid reference, but this also has sounds that call to mind Pink Floyd and other progressive rock bands. It’s also bluesy and has a soulful groove to it.
The first bonus track, “A Way” originally appeared on Buckley’s 2009 EP entitled “Sitting on the Wind.” There are some island type sounds and the vocal feels very much like something from Paul Simon. In some ways the mellow motifs that hold this one together feel like some of the ethereal sounds from Pink Floyd, particularly on their “Meddle” album.
The final track of the set is “Keeping Secrets.” It’s another bonus tune and originally appeared on the 2007 CD, It’s About Time. It’s essentially an acoustic rocker with some Latin elements at points. The references to Paul Simon are again somewhat valid here. The organ sound is tasty, too. The violin (provided by DeniBonet who has played with Cyndi Lauper, R.E.M., Sarah McLachlan and Robyn Hitchcock) also adds a nice touch.
Bud Buckley shows with this release that he can create sounds that manage to entertain and charm while still oozing with familiar musical elements. He manages to make the listener think of different artists without specifically referencing any. The only real complaint is that the disc is too short. Of course, leaving the listener wanting for more is preferable to creating an album that drags on too long. The bonus tracks will likely find fans looking to pick up the older releases. Yes, the music is that good.
Artist: Bud Buckley
Album: In Denial
Review by Matthew Warnock
In Denial, a four-song EP with two additional bonus tracks, is the latest release from singer-songwriter Bud Buckley. Drawing influences from the likes of Paul Simon and Bob Dylan, Buckley lets his influences breathe through his music while he steers each track into new directions by injecting his own personal touches as well as those of the world-class musicians that he has assembled together for this engaging project.
Kicking off the EP with the dark, bluesy rocker “Had to Pretend,” Buckley showcases his emotional side, as well as brings to light the strong guitar work of Steve Siktberg. The combination of growling guitar tone, low vocals and the bass and drums locking in together produces a song that is both dark and moody, but that will get toes tapping and heads bobbing at the same time. There is also some very fine organ work by Ross Rice, who duals with Siktberg in the song’s middle section, driving the energy and raising the band’s interaction and creativity to the next level of intensity.
Moving into more of a rock feel, complete with acoustic guitar and a softer guitar tone on the lead lines, Buckley lightens the mood with the second track “I Need.” Though there are some harmonic and melodic moments that return to the darker tone of the first track, the overall vibe is lighter, shining a light on another side of the songwriter’s artistic output. By using emotional contrast between the tracks, not just here but in others on the album as well, Buckley is thinking of the larger picture, being concerned with the overall programming of the album and not just the individual tracks. This is one of the reasons that this album is so successful and why it feels for like a cohesive musical output rather than just a collection of individual tracks.
The third song, “It’s Been Fun,” has a bit of a Paul Simon, after Simon and Garfunkel, vibe to it, at least in the vocals and the chorus harmony. Again, this track showcases the diverse background of Buckley’s influences from which the singer draws in his writing and performance. The EP concludes with a slower track that is permeated with a cymbal groove that keeps the time moving forward. Going with a cleaner sound, the guitars law down an harmonic pad that Buckley floats his lyrics over as he takes the listener through each verse and chorus throughout the length of the track.
Though the EP ends here, there are two bonus tracks that have been included in this release, “A Way” and “Keeping Secrets.” The first is an acoustic based track that features some very haunting guitar work and a lovely bassline that really pulls the track together, lifting it to become one of the best on the release. The latter is based on a driving rhythm that will bring to mind Bob Dylan’s early electric work, in both the music and vocals. Both songs are welcome additions to the EP and fit right in with the overall mood of the release, as opposed to being tacked on as an afterthought.
Overall, In Denial is a strong album full of well-written songs performed at the highest level. Though some of the moods tend to be similar, there is enough diversity to keep things interesting and move the music along from one track to the next. With such a creative and engaging EP on the shelves, listeners are left waiting for Buckley’s next full-length release to hit the airwaves and store shelves worldwide.
Review by Matthew Warnock
Rating: 4 Stars (out of 5)
SITTING ON THE WIND–2009
Chris Propfe April 25, 2009
For Muse’s Muse
Sitting On The Wind is Bud Buckley’s latest CD. It is a 6 song EP produced by Helen Avakian and Scott Petito. Helen and Scott have found a way once again to let the songs breathe and speak for themselves. It’s just enough production without being sparse, allowing the listener to connect the dots musically.
The backing band is superb! Josh Peni lends his talents to drums, Beth Reineke sings some beautiful background vocals, Deni Bonet handles the violin and viola, Helen sings and plays acoustic guitar, and Scott rounds out the songs on electric and upright bass, acoustic guitar, and percussion.
Bud’s music is always honest. I was first introduced to his songs through his last CD, It’s About Time, so I was hoping for more of the same when I turned up the volume on his latest project. Needless to say, I was not disappointed!
“Frozen Shadows” opens up the proceedings. With it’s descriptive lines of a relationship on the rocks, and it’s slow, bluesy feel, the listener gets a taste of the musical landscape to follow.
“A Way” is the modern day protest song without being preachy. It begins with the clever line, Evacuate all sea life…red tide advances, and ends with the even more important, We have to stay to save our skins. I love the reggae feel in the chorus and the creative bass work by Scott Petito.
“Move Me” is a cooler Sade song. With its Bossa Nova vibe and literary lyrics, it grabbed me from the first listen. In an age of emails, texts, tweets, etc., the words are a welcome return to language and the art of connecting feelings to actual words.
“Sit On The Wind” has to be my favorite. I am a sucker for a love song. On the back of the CD it is simply described as, Cathy and I take flight. It’s refreshing to see and hear an honest interpretation of a relationship. The finger-picking guitar combined with the violin work is beautiful and only adds to the emotion.
The CD ends with the songs “Jacob’s Hurricane” and “Go If You Want To”. If you like a country-rocker, then you will enjoy “Jacob’s Hurricane”. It has a Jimmy Buffett delivery and the wonderful tag, Bring on the hurricane! Deni Bonet plays violin throughout the recording but she really shines on this tune.
“Go If You Want To” shows Bud’s work ethic. He will give you everything musically and emotionally. His vocals are everything that is great about Dylan with an added attention to melody and craft. I will go for now and end this review, but I will be back to listen to this CD again and again.
“Bud Buckley knows the art of making feel good music. Through his charisma, lyrics and melody you get lost in his story telling and simply find yourself feeling good.”
- Mikki Hommel, booker for The National Underground, NYC, The National Underground (Aug 24, 2010)
“Even the most cynical listener should be immediately attracted to this song, a masterpiece in many ways, is has an indefinable edge to challenge the limitations of song writing, production and performance. “Frozen Shadows” (by Bud Buckley) speaks quality from the very first deep and sonorous introductory notes. The framework of sound is ready to sink into, lay back and enjoy. There is a walking / nodding pace rhythm with the merest soft drum kick. his is an introspective, retrospective and conclusive love/life cry with carefully chosen lyrics and images. The vocal is a rare truffle of flavour, a little crispness filled with a meltingly rich and creamy centre!”
- Scrutinears (Aug 01, 2010)
“Armed with his guitar and a solid repertoire of music, Bud Buckley brought a strong performance and thoroughly entertained the crowd at our Something Different Performance Series. ”
- Danny Brookings President, Make It Happen Entertainment (Aug 09, 2010)
“It was great having you perform for us. The audience couldn’t seem to get enough of you, and even the staff working at the venue are now fans of Bud Buckley. We look forward to working with you again.”
- Bridget, LESProductions, LES Productions, New York City (Aug 09, 2010)
“Worth a spot in your iPod. The key to a solid album is consistency.If I have to skip over 2 songs every time I listen, we have an issue. It’s About Time passes that test with room to spare. Production is tight and the vocals are solid the whole way through. Simply put, it’s got an organic sound that never gets sloppy. I could see myself putting this on repeat as I’m driving along an abandoned highway deep in the heart of Texas. Check it out for yourself if you need a break from pop radio. ”
- Taeho, Album Review Blog (May 03, 2010)
“Bud Buckley delivered some amazing, edgy, yet warm and engaging performances at the Orion Independent Music Festival 2010. His songs caught the attention of industry insiders and film makers and we look forward to his return in 2011!”-Steffon Olsen, Founder/CEO Orion Independent Music Festival in Park City”
- Steffon Olsen, www.orionmusicfestival.com (Apr 29, 2010)
“One of the best things about listening to others’ expressions of creative catharsis is an ability to get inside the themes and words of music and connect to another creative mind. Taking the airy ride with Buckley’s talented team of musicians will give insight into his mind and soothe away the stresses of life. Just a modern, easy to listen to E.P. Perfect for unwinding after a long day (or winter). ”
- Ellen Eldridge, Target Audience Magazine (Feb 05, 2010)
“His vocal delivery reaches a whole new level on this six song EP and his composition and composure give the lyrics dramatic space. He’s kept the talented recording crew and studio band that made his second album, It’s About Time, a success.”
- D-Man, Buried Beneath Floorboards (Apr 06, 2010)
“Bud Buckley is one of those rare treats that you do not want to miss out on. He sings with passion and soul that clearly shows why he is meant to make music. The critically acclaimed singer/songwriter is also a masterful guitarist.– Isaac Davis Jr, Junior’s Cave Magazine”
- Isaac Davis Jr., Junior’s Cave Magazine
“…images are of Mellencamp-ian Americana, as in the roots-country twang of “The Silence There” and in the album highlight, “Keeping Secrets,” its weary lovers “as still as the lake, as still as that old church where the faithful no longer come.” 3 stars”
- Amanda Schurr, Creative Loafing (Mar 12, 2008)
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“08.06.08 – Yet another massive support for Bud Buckley this week ensuring his fourth week at the top of the Chart, holding off Neil w Young for the second week.”
- Josh Simmons, Loneboystore (Jun 08, 2008)
How I Feel About It
This is Mr. Buckley’s second album, and it is a well produced blend of folk and rock. He employs some very capable musicians and it’s clear that this gig was more than just a paycheck to them. It is also clear from these tunes that Mr. Buckley has been dragged through a world of shit. His melancholy is deep and not the all-to-frequently affected sadness of aspiring hipsters.
This album took me back to the sixties and early seventies; no surprise since some of Mr. Buckley’s most significant influences come from that era. However, when you cite Bob Dylan as an influence, I want meaningful lyrics. I’ve seen too many artists who cite Dylan as an influence and then proceed to spew cliché after cliché. I found very few in these songs.
What’s most impressive about this album is Mr. Buckley’s absolute candor. His ability to speak directly to the listener about issues related to getting older is touching and thoroughly endearing, but to be brutally frank, younger listeners may have some trouble sympathizing with an adult coming clean about his mistakes. They should listen to it anyway.
“Buckley has hints of the rusty growl of Springsteen, the storytelling abilities of Eric Clapton, and the freshness that brings “It’s About Time” full circle. Combining classic elements with a sense of sweetness and vulnerability, Bud Buckley has made an album that will surely last through time.”
- Nicole Delawder, Hudson Valley News (Jul 22, 2009)