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How Eleanor Buckland found herself on solo debut ‘You Don’t Have to Know’

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How Eleanor Buckland found herself on solo debut ‘You Don’t Have to Know’ (Photo by Laura Partain)

As a member of celebrated Boston-based folk-rock trio Lula Wiles, Farmington native Eleanor Buckland loves to defy expectations while tinkering with the edges and boundaries of convention. The group’s third LP “Shame and Sedition,” released last May, found the three friends who first made music together at a Maine fiddle camp pushing the envelope both lyrically and musically. Buckland amplifies that notion on her indie rock-steeped solo debut “You Don’t Have to Know,” a project she says led to a shedding of her own personal boundaries and an acceptance of who she is as a person.

“You Don’t Have to Know” is largely a collaboration between Buckland and Adam Iredale-Gray, the producer and guitarist behind the board for Lula Wiles’ 2016 self-titled debut. A prolific songwriter, Buckland says she’s been stockpiling songs that didn’t feel quite right for the group and credits her producer for sparking the idea of a solo album. Eight additional musicians assisted in bringing her intimate songs to life during sessions that unfolded in five different studios over a period of three years.

Buckland’s new songs cover a broad swath of emotions and observations that will likely resonate with many listeners in this uncertain age. She sings of damaged love, struggles with anxiety and feelings of helplessness, but also of finding hope and peace in solitude and of finally accepting that it’s OK not to have an answer for every little thing.

Fans shouldn’t be surprised to hear that a member of the eclectic and ever-evolving Lula Wiles has made such a bold stylistic shift as Buckland has on her solo debut. She reflects on her personal evolution below suggesting that the process of living this album has resulted in an epiphany that has landed her in a much more positive space.

During an interview with The Maine Edge conducted just before the October 29 release of “You Don’t Have to Know,” Buckland discussed its creation and says she can’t wait to share the new songs in concert on November 11 at One Longfellow Square in Portland.

“It’s a great room and this will be my first headlining show there,” she says. Buckland will be joined in concert by Adam Iredale-Gray on guitar, Julia Easterlin on bass and Sean Trischka on drums. Singer songwriter Louisa Stancioff, a native of Chesterville, is scheduled to open.

The Maine Edge: What does this period just before the album comes out feel like for you? Is it exciting – are there nerves at all?

Eleanor Buckland: Both. I’m super-excited but there’s also this feeling like “Is this real?” It’s been sitting on my computer in my Google drive for so long (laughs). It’s been close to two years since we finished it and I’ve been waiting for the right time to put it out. It’s a little surreal to know that it will soon make its way into other people’s ears

The Maine Edge: You often take a direct approach to your songwriting that I really appreciate. You’re not afraid to be specific when writing lyrics.

Eleanor Buckland: One of my favorite things about songwriting is trying to find that balance between the specificity of the story, the concrete images and narrative and the metaphorical and abstract language and have that be married in a way that is evocative but also makes sense. The songs here are quite personal and part of me discovering who I am.

The Maine Edge: One of the songs from the album that is stuck in my head is “Static.” It’s a pretty amazing song with a must-hear guitar solo. You’ve said the song deals with anxiety, which I think is a pretty universal topic today. What’s the most effective way you’ve found to deal with it?

Eleanor Buckland: That’s my friend Sam Gleason playing the guitar solo on “Static.” I actually think writing songs can help with anxiety but also going back to the basics. That involves me really making sure I’m taking care of myself, getting enough sleep, eating well and exercising. I have a therapist, I do that, but I think the most powerful thing is spending time doing things I really love that fuel me at my core. That helps me slow down my mind from that kind of high-paced, frantic anxiety.

The Maine Edge: You said that these songs are part of you discovering who you are as a person. If you could point to one important thing that you found, what would it be?

Eleanor Buckland: I think I discovered that it’s OK that I don’t have really clearly defined edges and boundaries to who I am. I’m a changing, evolving, growing person. I discovered an acceptance for solitude and being happy with myself alone, not in a relationship. Also, it’s in the title, “You Don’t Have to Know.” I accepted that I don’t always have to know the answer to everything. In these times of uncertainty, I try to embrace that as opposed to feeling the anxiety around that uncertainty, if that make sense. That was a lot of things! (laughs).

The Maine Edge: What will it feel like to come home when you perform at One Longfellow Square on November 11?

Eleanor Buckland: Oh my goodness, I’m so thrilled to be doing what will feel like a hometown show. Going up to Maine and being so close to Farmington will feel like a homecoming and I think a whole bunch of people will be coming down for the show. The opener, Louisa Stancioff, is a friend of mine from high school so that will be special for me and I think we’ll collaborate on a song or two. It will certainly be a special, kind of magical show, I’m sure.

(Tickets for Eleanor Buckland, with Louisa Stancioff, at One Longfellow Square in Portland, on November 11, are available at www.OneLongfellowSquare.com.)

Last modified on Wednesday, 03 November 2021 09:35

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