Though Chris Buck lives just two hours south of Pemberton, it’s been a very long journey leading up to his first show in the area. Now he’s ready to bring energetic country music to the town when the Chris Buck Band plays the Pemberton Barn Dance next Saturday (Sept. 26.)
Buck didn’t really even start playing music until he was 19, but really got motivated to improve after a friend died at the young age of 13. “He was kind of like a brother to me and it put things into reality for me and made me work harder, because he was really talented,” said Buck.
That spurred him to put together a cover band, and for almost the next decade, country covers was what he did. It was never his plan at a young age — he wasn’t really even into the genre.
“I listened to it a little bit, my uncle (was really into it) when I was growing up, but I wasn’t really a big country fan,” he said. “Then I started running karaoke gigs when I was 19 and one day I put on Alan Jackson’s ‘Chattahoochee.’ I sang it and I was like ‘Oh man! My voice sounds country, I didn’t even realize.’”
And once Buck found his calling, the goal was to play as many shows as he could get to put in his “10,000” hours, he said, referencing Malcolm Gladwell’s theory about the amount of time it takes to become an expert at something. The country cover group eventually built up a following around B.C., enough that Buck stopped doing jobs on the side and became a full-time musician. That also led to the band beginning to write their own original songs and using their live shows as an opportunity to test them out.
Named the BC Country Music Association (BCCMA’s) 2014 Country Club Act of the Year, Chris Buck Band’s upward trajectory has allowed them to upgrade to more committed players. Along with Buck, bassist Michael Vanderlans is the only original member from the cover band days. The rest of the lineup consists of Taylor Allum, Phil Puxley and Paul Kinman a.k.a. “Tokyo.”
Their debut album, Buck Wild was released last year to positive reviews. Since then the band has opened for Sam Hunt and Thomas Rhett. They also closed down Thursday night at Rockin’ River Fest, playing after the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, leading Buck to joke that the legendary act opened for them.
This summer, the group independently released their new single “Leave Your Light On,” which made it into the 50s on the Canadian Country Billboard Charts. Picked up by nearly every country station in B.C. their local following continues to grow, and they hope national attention can follow.
This summer Buck did a radio tour across Canada, travelling all the way to Ottawa in a Toyota Corolla. The band has another cross-country tour planned for next year, after they go to Nashville to record a new single.
For now, Buck is excited for the band to make their inaugural appearance in Pemberton, and where better to do it than the Downtown Community Barn?
“It’s good to get up there so people can check out the show,” said Buck. “We’re really fast-paced, really easy to dance to. If anyone there wants to really come out and party, we’re the band to do that to.”
The Chris Buck Band plays the Pemberton Barn Dance on Sept. 26 starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at Pemberton Valley Supermarket, AC Gas or the Pemberton Legion.