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.