Buck69 releases new blues CDWritten by Jay Hathaway | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Toledo-based blues-rock band Buck69 recently released an album offering 16 tracks of original material.
“No Medicine Like the Blues” is the second album from the seven-piece contemporary blues-rock outfit that formed in 2004. Lead vocalist, and songwriter/guitarist Tom Clawson said taking the time to write quality songs was key for the second offering.
“I started writing new material even before we finished the first CD, so you could say this one took about six years,” Clawson said. “We really took our time with this, compared to the first one. We wanted the first CD to be good, but we rushed it a little due to the excitement. I’m really pleased with the outcome. I feel it’s the best songwriting I’ve done, and the band did a great job of putting down the music.”
Buck69’s previous release, “When She Whispers Your Name,” was a 2008 Grammy Award finalist for contemporary blues. The group also contributed a song, “Have a Mighty Fine Christmas,” to the recent Make-A-Wish Foundation benefit CD “Holiday Wishes 3: If You Believe.”
Clawson, a longtime musician, was on an extended break from the business when his son, Alex, suggested that they play together in 2002.
“The two of us [played] around Toledo doing some acoustic stuff,” Clawson said. “I was only too happy to try it out, if not mainly just to spend time with my son. After a couple years he says, ‘Dad, let’s start a band.’ I was a little hesitant, knowing the baggage that comes with forming and maintaining a band.”
But the elder Clawson agreed, and the two set out to handpick Buck69’s lineup. Clawson said it was critical to form a true team of professional musicians and singer/songwriters.
The band is a well-rounded lineup of some of Toledo’s most recognizable names in music. Alex plays rhythm and lead guitar, and John Sevilla plays lead and bass guitar. Candice Coleman, a former “American Idol” contestant, sings lead and backup vocals. David Alan plays drums and provides backup vocals, B.J. Love plays keyboards and Randy Paredes plays lead, rhythm and slide guitar.
“Each of us [brings] a diverse mixed bag of talent to the band. That’s why you’ll never see us listed as ‘Tom and Buck69,’ or ‘Candice and Buck69,’ or any of the other guys’ names. When you come to see us play or listen to our CDs, you’re not getting one person with some musicians backing him up, you’re getting seven multitalented people coming together as a team who all could be the frontman/woman of their own band.”
Clawson said that, due to the size of the band, it is difficult to play weekly gigs at local bars, so they try to stick to fairs, festivals and fundraisers. Buck69 has played at the Ohio State Fair, the Toledo Speedway Jam, the MS Jam, the Fort Wayne Jazz and Blues Festival and several other festivals.
“I’ve found that doing the ‘every week bar thing’ burns out the fans and the musicians,” Clawson said. “Besides, I like the energy that the band brings to a show, and I know some of that would be lost playing cover songs over and over again at the bars. It’s just not what the band is about.”
Clawson admitted that “No Medicine Like the Blues,” which was recorded and produced by Sevilla’s New Realm Recording, provided some challenges in trying to organize and arrange music for a large group of songwriters.
“Of course, raising the money is always the hardest part, [but] the next hardest thing was writing some of the songs. I wanted to have Candice be lead singer on a couple of the songs, so I had to write accordingly, and she does a great job on ‘Without My Baby,’ which I knew she would. And John Sevilla wrote the music for four songs, and said, ‘Here, write some lyrics.’ That was a totally new experience.”
Clawson said that if he had to choose a favorite song from the album, it would likely be the title track, a progressive rock-influenced blues jam featuring a lead guitar part reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, with a bluesy edge.
“It’s not the best radio-friendly song on the CD because it’s eight minutes long, but it really shows the professionalism of the guys in the band,” he said.
“[Also], Candice took ‘Without My Baby’ and made it her own, and it was a real treat to have Johnny Neel from the Allman Brothers Band play keyboards on ‘Dead End Road.’”
Clawson said keeping things fresh and unique is what helps set Buck69 apart.
“At my age now, I’ve listened to a lot of music and my biggest gripe has always been that you put a CD in while cruising down the road, and it really sucks when all the songs start sounding alike. That’s why people listen to the radio and why mixed CDs are so popular — the diversity.
“Our No. 1 rule of thumb is to be eclectic and diverse. I want you to be able to put our CD in your car stereo and just cruise, with nothing sounding the same, so you don’t get bored.”
“No Medicine Like the Blues” is available at Amazon.com, CD Baby., iTunes, Culture Clash Records and directly from the band.
For more information, visit www.buck69.net.
Tags: 2008 Grammy Award finalist, Allman Brothers Band, Amazon.com, Buck69, Culture Clash Records, Fort Wayne Jazz and Blues Festival, iTunes, John Sevilla, Johnny Neel, Make-A-Wish Foundation benefit CD “Holiday Wishes 3: If You Believe”, MS Jam, Ohio State Fair, Sevilla’s New Realm Recording, songwriter/guitarist Tom Clawson, Toledo Speedyway Jam