Since 2014, Eleanor Buckland has been one-third of Lula Wiles, the Boston-based folk-rock trio that has become an acoustic music scene favorite with their three critically hailed albums. For much of this time, however, Buckland was also working on another musical project – her own album. You Don’t Have To Know (due on October 29) spotlights a different side of Buckland’s musical interests as it sets her deeply personal songs against inventive indie rock arrangements.
Buckland didn’t know she was headed to making a solo album when she started writing the songs found on You Don’t Have To Know. Initially, she was thrilled simply having the freedom to get creative and write for herself. Although she thought about recording the tunes, the idea arose from a suggestion by Adam Iredale-Gray, a friend of Buckland’s (and her Lula Wiles bandmates Mali Obomsawin and Isa Burke) at Berklee College of Music and producer of the trio’s self-titled first album. While recording that album, Buckland and Iredale-Gray noticed, as she explains it, “a magical spark of synchronicity in our creative processes.”
In February 2017, Buckland met up with Iredale-Gray in Toronto, a home base for the Juno-nominated producer/multi-instrumentalist. She brought along the three songs she had finished: “Don’t Look Down,” “Just Love,” and “How Fast, How Far.” When this session began, they weren’t sure whether they were making an EP or an album or if it would be a band or duo project. It was Iredale-Gray, Buckland recalls, who could hear that they clearly were making her solo album. “I think she really found her own voice in a new setting,” Iredale-Gray explains.
The first song they recorded, “Don’t Look Down,” wound up being the album’s first track too. Reflecting the dark time Buckland was experiencing when she wrote it while also holding glimmers of hope, the song was her clear choice to lead off You Don’t Have To Know. “We built the rest of the album upon this musical foundation,” she reveals. “I think of that song as both a question and the thesis statement for the record.”
Serving too as the first single off of You Don’t Have To Know, “Don’t Look Down” comes out digitally on July 23. It will be followed each month by another song, leading up to the album’s October 29 debut. The restlessly paced “Static” arrives August 20, with the alluring pop jam “I’m Not Saying” being released September 10 and the introspective folk ballad “October” coming out, appropriately enough, on October 1.