In Review: Celtic-Inspired Fiddle Player Kevin Buckley Releases Refreshing Debut Album ‘Big Spring’

Big Spring, the newest album from singer-songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Kevin Buckley, breathes life into its name. It is composed of twelve songs encapsulating the essence of moving into spring, combining elements of bluegrass, swing music, and traditional Irish folk. 

Big Spring, released on February 22nd, is Buckley’s debut solo album, having released four albums previously with the band Grace Basement. 

The album impressively came to completion in Buckley’s at-home studio with the help of mixing engineer Dave Sinko, who helped give the acoustic mixes the best possible sound. Buckley also enlisted the help of multiple collaborators to make Big Spring what it is, including Alan Murray, Gerard Ecker, Eileen Gannon, Jon Ferber, and others. 

Buckley, born and raised in Saint Louis, Missouri, has been playing the fiddle since age nine, tapping into his Irish roots. However, this is his first album where he actually incorporates that skill, reaching into territory he has never been in before. The harmonious fiddle plays the main role in the 38-minute long album, mainly instrumental, accompanied by Buckley’s smooth voice in several songs. 

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Big Spring opens with instrumental track, “Sweeney’s Wheel”, an energetic tune that makes evident Buckley’s undeniable Irish roots. His honeyed vocals first come into play during song, “The Blackest Crow”, a peaceful ode to a lover, eventually crescendoing into a powerful ending. Featuring powerful background vocals, “The Blackest Crow” is a collaboration with musicians Dan Lowery and Alex Sinclair. 

A picturesque moment in the album occurs during “Marcelle Et Marcel”, a heavily French-inspired instrumental piece that captures the essence of walking around Paris at night. It is evident that Buckley is being cautiously experimental with the new music, bringing many sounds seamlessly together. 

Buckley’s vocals come back into play during the wise “Never Tire of the Road”, an ode to the long yet necessary journey of life. “The dark roads lead me onward,” croons Buckley, inspiring hope, optimism, and perseverance. 

A more upbeat moment occurs during “La Rubia”, an instrumental, fiddle-driven song that is contagious and warm. Buckley’s Irish heritage shines through in this one, as well. 

Buckley’s crisp vocals appear one last time in “Miss Bailey”, a nostalgic story that showcases his storytelling abilities. The song tells the story of a forlorn man who longs for a woman named Miss Bailey, someone from his past. 

Finally, Big Spring concludes with “Ships Are Sailing”, one last instrumental track that brings the album to a peaceful yet powerful end. Buckley’s abilities shine in his incredibly mature music, a timeless collection of songs that any music lover would appreciate.

Big Spring by Kevin Buckley is now available to purchase, stream, or download.

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