REVIEW: My Rebel Darling || New Album from The Brian Buckley Band

I have been following the Brian Buckley Band for years now and I can honestly say this is my favorite record so far. The band is Brian Buckley (Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar), Mike McGraw (Lead Guitar, Background Vocals), Albert Estiamba Jr (Drums, Background Vocals) and Krishnan Swaminathan (Bass, Background Vocals).

I saw Brian Buckley perform for the first time in 2011 in Vancouver. I heard him sing an acoustic version of his song “Soundtrack” from the 2012 release “Without Injuring Eternity“. I introduced myself to Brian that day because I’ve been involved in music long enough to know I wanted to hear every single project he worked on in the future. I wasn’t wrong.

The newest project from this band is a journey you really shouldn’t miss. The style of the band has matured and grown over the years and I feel like “My Rebel Darling” hits a bullseye.

This eighteen track album is available for pre-order on iTunes already and will be released on May 17, 2019.

There’s a bit of everything on this album. “Sincerely” is a beautiful song about loving someone so much that letting them go is the only way forward. “Hummingbird” and “Machine Gun” are hard-hitting songs about violence and how we need to all pull together to stop the way the world is heading. There’s a nine-minute song called “Pebble of Sand” that really needs to become a rock anthem because once you listen to it, you’ll never want to stop.

As always, Brian’s soulful and unique vocals are a huge part of the tale told on this album. These guys are talented, musical souls and you should really take the time to listen to this. I promise you won’t regret it.

Every time I listen I find myself enjoying different things, noticing things that I didn’t notice before – and that’s a real gift to get from a band!

I was going to sit down and write a professional review, talking about the music, the musicians, the lyrics…but what I’m going to do instead is share some of the thoughts I had, notes I made for myself when I was getting to know the album. So, below are some of the songs off the record that stuck with me.

Krishnan, Brian, Mike, Al: photo by Matt Stasi
Krishnan, Brian, Mike, Al: photo by Matt Stasi

“Hummingbird”: The first time I heard this track I cried. It’s beautiful and the lyrics touched me. If I didn’t already know the people responsible for this music, it’s the kind of song that would make me realize that I’m not crazy, I’m not alone, there are people out there in the world who feel the same way I do.

“Chess Pieces”: This is the best mix of the signature guitar sounds of Mike McGraw and the hard-hitting vocals by Brian Buckley. This is the band’s sound.

“Little by Little”: If you’re not sure you have a sense of Buckley’s vocal range, check out this track. His range is amazing. When he sings in his natural register it’s rich and the falsetto is piercing.

“Low”: Combine a great beat, a kick-ass bass solo with some good, old rock and roll and you’ve got this track.

“Who Are You”:  I love the rhythm of this one. And the message: Be exactly what you are, fight for all the love that’s left in your heart. We could all use this advice. To me, this track is the conversation you have with someone that has you walking away and going ‘holy shit – that was important…”

“Energy”: One of my favorite vocals. It’s smooth and emotional. The harmonies are amazing and the timing of it all is just perfect.

“Burn the Photograph”:  When we listen to music there are just some songs that we need to become friends with, need to get to know – and then we just want to spend more time with them. This song – is one of those. I have friends that I already know I want to send this to – so I can say… “this is you and me!” I want to hear this live…because it already has that feel.

“Cannonball”: Now this is rock… it feels “harder” than the rest, but I love it. About three-quarters of the way through this song begins to sound like a jam session… and don’t let that put you off. This band is tight and their musicality is amazing.

“Just a Matter of Time”: This track is bracketed by a perfect intro complete with harmonics and a pitch-perfect final vocal run from Brian.

“Hand Over My Heart”: This is a little Prog rock, a little Rush, it’s serious and defiant.

“Trouble”: If you’ve seen the Brian Buckley Band on StageIt or live, you may have heard a version of this track. It’s definitely one of my faves. Again, the lyrics are beautiful, the vocal range and power are stunning.

“Sincerely”: The guitar is perfect. And I love the lyrics. It’s melancholy but still hopeful in a crazy way. Again, this sounds like it’s live – even with the violin (Not normally part of the band), This track captures the full range of Buckley’s vocals, the emotion in the lyrics and that special something that you see when they’re onstage.

“Pebble of Sand”: In a very short time, this track has become a staple on the roads trips we frequently take. There’s something very epic about this tune, I want it to go on and on and it feels like I get to experience a little of that towards the end of the track. This has that almost intangible energy that radiates from the band when they’re performing live.

And if you’re lucky enough to live in the Los Angeles Area – you can see the band live as they celebrate the release of “My Rebel Darling” at the Troubadour on Saturday, June 1st. Tickets available here!

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