Home Read Albums Of The Week: Mariel Buckley | Everywhere I Used To Be

Albums Of The Week: Mariel Buckley | Everywhere I Used To Be

The Calgary singer-songwriter sidesteps the sophomore slump — and expands the sonic and stylistic range of her late-night alt-folk — with her sure-footed second LP.

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THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “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. And that’s exactly where her new album Everywhere I Used to Be lives.

Produced by Marcus Paquin (Weather Station, Barr Brothers, Arcade Fire, The National, Julia Jacklin) Everywhere I Used To Be is sonically anchored by the haunting whine of pedal steel, a tastefully weighted, deep groove — rounded out by heavy synth pads and vibrant guitar parts. The resulting collection is a driving, swooning, toe-tapping catharsis; sealed and delivered by Buckley’s signature crooning brand of angst-ridden alt-folk.

“When you grow up as the town freak, you get used to hiding who you are to become more palatable for those around you,” she says. “While I’ve been great at speaking my mind in person, my music has often remained a vague, if not softer representation of my stuff, until now. All I said about my life in direct detail on my last record was that I was ‘kept a secret’ — and I couldn’t go any deeper.

“When I wrote this record, l felt myself becoming clearer in the process. I became softer in my personal life and sharper in my songs. I finally saw the person, musician and songwriter I wanna be coming into focus, all together. Mental illness, addiction, bad choices, and abusive relationships have made that journey really fucking long and really difficult. It felt like coming home. Selfishly, this album gave me something I’d been looking for my whole life. I hope to give people a chance to hear themselves in these stories.

Photo by Sebastian Buzzalino.

 

“I wrote this album for losers and underdogs. I want every outsider and lost soul to feel seen and safe with these songs. I wrote it for kids who do/did feel underrepresented in the mainstream media, in church, at school or at home. I wrote it for anyone who’s ready to make a change, and especially for those who aren’t.”

Buckley and Paquin made an intentional move towards 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.

Born and raised on the prairies in a conservative core, Buckley spent most of her youth playing hockey, getting into trouble and writing it all down. After dabbling in guitar for near a decade, she took up some bar gigs, playing mostly traditional country music. Buckley began writing original music in her early twenties and found a natural comfort in speaking her mind through song. After several years of honing her craft on and off the stage, she began seeing larger support slots — k.d. Lang notably saying: “this kid has a big future.”

Buckley’s first official release Driving in the Dark (2018) garnered international press and began solidifying her as part of the roots community in North America. Now, after two years forced hiatus and a new album, she’s ready to continue being a trail 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.”