Buck Meek’s songs are for the lost dogs of honest mechanics, good guys and girls born into a life of crime, runaways, snow spirits, the ghosts of Central Park, unsung diving-board stars, the affection shared through gambling, and so on. Bred in Texas, more bread in New York City, he spins outlaw ballads and quotidian fairy tales into a yarn, with Adam Brisbin on guitar (Jolie Holland, Sam Evian, Katie Von Schleicher), Mat Davidson on bass (Twain, The Low Anthem, Spirit Family Reunion), and Austin Vaughn on drums (Here We Go Magic, Luke Temple, Sam Evian).
Meek’s self-titled debut album was recorded with ace engineers Phil Weinrobe (Really Big Pinecone, Ceramic Dog, Nick Murphy) and Andrew Sarlo (Big Thief, Nick Hakim). The process took place between Rivington 66, an orange den beneath the Lower East Side in Manhattan and the cork womb of Figure 8 Recording in Brooklyn, as well as the wainscoted, old-growth oak-joisted parlor of the Lethe Lounge in upper Manhattan. In addition to the core band, album personnel includes Mikey Buishas (Really Big Pinecone) on pump organ, Dave Harrington (Dark Side, Nicolas Jaar) on pedal steel, Adrianne Lenker (Big Thief) on vocals, Buck’s brother Dylan Meek (Miguel, Grant AME Gospel Choir, Post Malone) on Wurlitzer, and Michael Sachs (Little King, Secret Sibling) on clarinet.
Looking to the past, following his fledgling years as a boy playing gut-bucket blues, manouche jazz, and western swing in bars and dance halls across Texas, he moved to NYC and released two solo EPs, Live from a Volcano (2013), and Heart Was Beat (2015). Shortly after moving to NYC, he met songwriter Adrianne Lenker, and after a year of fervent collaboration, they recorded two EPs, A-sides and B-sides (2014). The duo went on to circle the USA several times over in the orange velvet Van Bon Jovi, playing Appalachian school houses, Alabaman birthday BBQs, Arkansanian book fairs, Texan Star Parties, Massachusettsan cattle farms, Minnesotan fireworks displays, and so forth. From there they expanded into a four-piece outfit, Big Thief, and have since released two records, Masterpiece (2016) and Capacity (2017).
Emma Kupa, formerly of BBC 6 Music favourites Standard Fare and currently of Marc Riley endorsed Mammoth Penguins and The Hayman Kupa Band – with Hefner’s Darren Hayman, also plays compelling indie-folk-country under her solo guise. She released the mini album Home Cinema via wiaiwya in 2015, which is a catchy, honest record about family, death, drink problems, holocaust survivors and communism. She is due to follow up with a full-length album later this year, continuing to hone her candid songwriting with intensely personal lyrics and irresistibly hummable pop tunes, underpinned by heartfelt vocals and heart-wrenching harmonies.
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Tickets £9 +bf
1 Tolpuddle St, London, N1 0XT