Studio Bell at National Music Centre December 12, 2019
Never one to rest on her laurels, Mariel Buckley’s victory lap after winning the top prize at this year’s Project Wild featured an expanded band, special guests and a rollicking, rousing set that spanned the breadth of her Americana-inspired roots rock.
Comfortable in front of the nearly sold-out crowd for the last Alberta Spotlight show at Studio Bell of the season, Buckley wasted no time getting right to the point: fierce and unapologetic, she ripped into “Wait” with her red-hot band vamping behind her, a full seven-member ensemble taking flight and filling up the gorgeous room (and building, the back of the Performance Hall open to the rest of the National Music Centre) with their huge sound.
Adding keys and a slide guitar were not the only surprises Buckley had in store: midway through the set, she invited her brother, T. Buckley, to the stage for a full-band cover of the Hip’s “Ahead By a Century,” as well as a beautiful duet of Hayes Carll’s “Beaumont.” Not done yet, Buckley joked between songs, introducing upcoming numbers “the real way” with the stories that inspired “Jumping the Fence,” a live debut of “Stray Dogs” and her very first Christmas song, “Get On With It.”
Finally, a huge, spacey rendition of “Motorhome” wrapped up the show, putting a larger-than-life bow on a breakout 2019 for Mariel Buckley. With 2020 set to record a new album, it won’t be long until she becomes a household name.