Few performers combine the lyrical heartfelt authenticity of classic country music with a steely-eyed intensity that compels an audience’s attention like Calgary, Alberta’s Mariel Buckley. Amidst a sea of neon-Nashville superstars, Buckley offers a crunchy, roots alternative. It’s the kind of sound many musicians take years searching for, and the arrival of Buckley’s spectacular sophomore full-length album, Driving In The Dark, proves that she hasn’t taken a moment for granted. Driving In The Dark finds Buckley planting her flag firmly as a songwriter who’s here for the long haul, one with the chops to hang with the greats she finds herself sharing stages with more often these days.

She depicts the trials of everyday life with unflinching honesty, painting poetically plainspoken highs and lows, long nights and hard days, all filtered through her wry, no-bullshit perspective. Stoked by the impressive team she assembled for the recording sessions, led by producer Leeroy Stagger at his Rebeltone Ranch studio in Lethbridge, Alberta; the songs offer simplicity with complex nuance about the questions that dog us.

No Depression hails her as, “a new Loretta Lynn, speaking her mind... Throw in a little Townes Van Zandt mixed with Joan Jett and you’ve got an artist who’s going to grab a lot of people’s attention.”

From the moment she arrived on the scene with her self-titled EP in 2012, Mariel quickly earned the respect of the Alberta roots music community. With the release of Motorhome two year later, the accolades kept growing, leading to performances in support of k.d. lang, Hayes Carll, Whitehorse, The Deep Dark Woods and Serena Ryder; as well as entertaining audiences throughout major Folk Festivals across Western Canada. She is currently embarking on a summer-long North American Tour with shows supporting Sarah Shook & The Disarmers, and playing several Northeastern U.S. dates, en route to the 58th annual Philadelphia Folk Festival.

Her signature candour is part of what makes Driving In The Dark such a powerful statement by an artist truly coming into her own. She could have chosen to chase a slicker, more polished sound built for radio and arenas, but instead, she doubled down on the grit and the truth in her music. It’s honesty that brought her to this point, and honesty that will continue to carry her into the future.

Recalling Kathleen Edwards at her most immediate and intimate, Bucks takes a great leap forward with this Leeroy Stagger-produced warm and wonderful collection of gems. It’s the perfect prairie road-trip record that also doubles as a truly wonderful whiskey tumbler to take away your troubles while leaving no regrets.
— Mike Bell, The YYSCENE
With her sun-washed, melodic Americana music, Calgary’s Mariel Buckley is poised to make her mark. There’s an inherent poignancy in the way she carries her smoky vocals across nostalgic arrangements and thought-provoking lyricism that makes her impending sophomore album much anticipated.
— Jonathan Frahm, PopMatters
If you’re longing for the pensive tearjerkers of classic country music in the modern world, look no further than Calgary, Alberta singer-songwriter Mariel Buckley. With the soul of Emmylou and the keen eye of Springsteen, Buckley has been busy making a name for herself.
— Bobbie Jean Sawyer, Wide Open Country
Buckley’s songwriting is a precision-guided missile aimed of truth. “Driving In The Dark” vividly paints pictures of the existential questions that dog us. It offers simple songs with complex nuance.
— Rachel Cholst, Wide Open Country
Driving In The Dark catches a listener’s attention, and Mariel Buckley’s ability as a writer alone, whether self-accompanied or with a full complement of instrumentation, puts her in some rare air around here.
— Mike Dunn, Beatroute Magazine
Mariel Buckley’s songs, dazzling and assured variations on traditional country ballads, seem immediately timeless and she possesses a dry sense of humour that will quickly win over any crowd.
— Eric Volmers, The Calgary Herald
Buckley’s clear vocals shine with honesty and a touch of darkness, establishing her as an original and confident voice on the alt-country scene.
— Anna Alger, Exclaim!
I can’t decide whether Mariel Buckley is a singer/songwriter or a songwriter/singer. This is the very definition of a good problem to have. There is no filter between her voice and whatever song she is singing. It’s just heart and soul. Blood and guts. Piss and vinegar. I’m lucky to be a fan.
— Mike Plume, Singer-songwriter
Mariel Buckley is the new Loretta Lynn. Speaking her mind, offering a straight-up, no-nonsense set of songs that go back to earlier country styles. She’s joking, ruminating, flirting, thinking, in the way that Loretta did on some of her classic songs. Throw in a little Joan Jett, and you’ve got a songwriter who’s going to grab a lot of listeners who are disillusioned with country’s offerings as of late.
— Gillian Turnbull, No Depression