Making the trek up to the Sunshine Coast on March 10th 2012, Vancouver local, Buckman Coe looked and sounded right at home in the colourfully artsy community. Just a ferry ride away from West Van, anyone who's had the pleasure of visiting 'The Coast' knows that a special cultural community has evolved there, descended from hippy draft dodgers and those looking to escape the 'big city'.
Jordao PhotoGraphic Studio, the studio and home of Racquel Jor-For, provided the venue for the (unofficial) kick off of Buckman Coe's cross-Canada tour, promoting his new album, By The Mountain’s Feet. In production terms, his newest offering is a step up from the largely basement-produced Latest Waking, but, that being said, what this man can do with a couple mics in his bedroom closet is pretty inspiring.
Maybe it was because of the fact that we were essentially in Raquel's home, sitting on her couches/pillows/floor, drinking from a makeshift bar in her kitchen, and munching on a spread of cheese and crackers, or perhaps it was the band’s welcoming presence, but the thirty or so of us packed into the small space quickly became a pack of kindred spirits for nearly four hours of music and merriment. Setting the tone for the night, Buckman started off with a hauntingly powerful solo cover of Nina Simone's, ‘Wild is the Wind’. You can find a video of Buckman singing this on YouTube; it was basically what convinced me that I needed to get myself to this gig.
A few blues and soul covers aside, Buckman Coe's singer-songwriting style is acutely West Coast: a mix of Canadiana, soul, folk, and a touch of reggae, blended with soul searching lyrics, social consciousness and environmental awareness. His music would definitely appeal to the likes of those who enjoy artists such as Ben Harper and Michael Franti, but judging by the patrons of the Studio last night, so would aging hippies, hipsters, knitters, and people who wear zebra print pants.
Musically, lyrically, and standing before us, Buckman's other passion, yoga, translates into a profound sense of presence in the world, and in his music. His music took us on a journey through love, loves-lost, the beach, towards a yearning for new beginnings. With a bit of philosophising on zombies, to round it all out.
Thrown together just a few days before, Buckman Coe's laid-back grooves were filled out by Mike Rush on upright bass and Adam Parent on drums and backing vocals. After a long, drinking-filled intermission that felt more like a house party than a music gig, the last set consisted of a lot of extended singalongs, spontaneous dance parties, ukulele solos, and on-the-spot song learning by Mike and Adam to keep the music flowing and the dancers happy. Well into Sunday morning, over three hours after Nina Simone, the music finally had to come to an end, but not without a draw prize for a goodie bag, of course.
While the rest of Buckman Coe's tour dates might not be as unique as this first one, you can catch the official launch at The Biltmore Cabaret in Vancouver on March 16th, or visit buckmancoe.com for additional dates, and a preview of his newest album.