Eleanor Buckland – You Don’t Have To Know
Many female singer-songwriters I’ve heard through the years are superb. They write with clarity & sing well. But then there are artists like Maine’s Eleanor Buckland (vocals/acoustic guitar) who oozes high-spirited creativity, warranted with enthusiasm. Her songs resonate with intelligence. She has all the exponents of a truly original musical personality.
If there are new Joni Mitchells, Laura Nyros, & Patti Smiths fermenting in the musical scene — Ms. Buckland is one.
Sometimes it takes a few listens to find the groove of a singer. Or get into a CD by the late tracks to reasonably get the gist of a technique. Not so with Eleanor. She has the words, melodies, & vocal tonality to generate a style all her own that’s surprisingly accomplished. I liked her from the start. No cliches, no redundant melody structures, working with a tight formidable unit. Her opening sonically infused & bass-heavy song “Don’t Look Down,” throbs with a steady beat & her words are fitting, polished & have depth.
When she shifts the beat in one line “So I took a train, I took a plane, and man was I running…” just lit up my ears. She wasn’t following any steady recipe here. She downshifted from the opening melodic structure of the tune briefly into another gear. It captured the richness. Most singer-songwriters wouldn’t think of doing this. Unless they were a Joni Mitchell or a progressive rock artist. But in a delightful folky-type tune this was a surprise & it sparkles.
The song segues into “I’m Not Saying,” with a bit of an Alanis Morrisette intonation. Edwin Sheard’s sax adds color.
“And I was only looking for your good side…but isn’t that why you needed me so bad?” Wonderful. Her songs are filled with gratifying lines like this.
You Don’t Have To Know (Drops Oct 29–Soundly) is Eleanor’s first solo LP — produced by Adam Iredale-Gray (electric-acoustic guitars/harmony vocals/programming). The 10-songs were recorded in Ontario. Among the musicians: Mairi Chaimbeul (Wurlitzer/organ/synth/upright piano), Justin Ruppel (drums/percussion), Charles James (electric bass), Sam Gleason (electric guitar/baritone guitar), Elise Boeur & Steven Foster (harmony vocals), Anh Phung (flutes).
Admire Laura Nyro? This has Nyro moments. Ms. Buckland is a topical songwriter. Even the more mystical “Resignation,” maintains a folky root electronics never over impose. It’s Laurie Anderson mixed with Dead Can Dance’s Lisa Gerrard or The Swans’ Jarboe. Not as intense, Eleanor is plaintive, vibrant & savvy.
A bit rockier is “Static,” which bristles with guitars & slam-bam drums. “Just Love,” is a concise rocky tune as well. “You Don’t Have To Know,” is beautiful with Pink Floyd-type slashes that never sink into bombastic showboating. Quite cool.
“The waves can’t tell my tears from the rain…”
The well-designed CD has a lyric sheet. B&W image: Eleanor Buckland website. The 39-minute CD: available @ https://www.eleanorbuckland.com/