In this digital era where indie artists seek inclusion on playlists and a handful of tracks on an EP, for both budgetary and practical promotional purposes, are just as likely an output as a full LP, it’s exciting to hear multi-genre roots based singer-songwriters Greg Bucking create on his self-titled debut EP such an explosive personal and sociopolitical narrative over six tracks that the rootsy emotional resonance feels like we just listened to 20.
The raw voiced, intensely impactful Bucking has been itching towards this solo emergence a long time, honing his sonic, stylistic and storytelling genius playing Americana/folk with The Vine Brothers, ska/reggae with The Scofflaws and good ol’ rock and roll with Mother Freedom and Broken Carousel.
We feel like he’s taking us on a gritty and grounded, heart-tugging tour of our travails and pleas of 2021, rolling with equal parts outcry (the laid back and hypnotic, Bob Marleyesque reggae-splashed opener “No Justice”), a need for sweet escape from present perilous circumstances via he sparkling rock/funk jam “Roll in the Sunshine” and a dreamy, bluegrassy folk sojourn to the tranquil healing of the “Atlantic Ocean,” and an old school, harmonica laced bluesy desperate plea for help to a higher power (“Oh Jesus”).
No matter where we are physically, emotionally and spiritually during this pandemic insanity, Bucking sums up all of our challenging circumstances by wrapping his set with a soulful, vocal harmony driven twist on one of the granddaddys of folk music, “Wayfaring Stranger,” a tune that originated in the early 18th Century and whose lyrics were known during the Civil War era as The Libby Prison Hymn.
The one delightful outlier, whose purpose it seems is to help us transcend the darkness and remember it’s also good to be alive and so why not dance our butts off, is the whimsical instrumental jam “Tango in the Park” – a sizzling romp that allows Bucking to strut his rock/blues/Santanaesque stuff and elevate our spirits greatly. While we all should be thrilled that Bucking’s enjoyed a multi-faceted career and played at top venues In New York and well beyond over the years, his ultra-promising solo debut makes it clear he’ll be taking center stage from now on.