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Scott Lyman & The Wandering Buckaroos Interview

Toronto's own old-timey country outfit, Scott Lyman & The Wandering Buckaroos, have just released their debut album titled Lonesome And Blue, so we thought we'd catch up with Scott to learn more about the album, the band, and their first original honky-tonk songs.

Tell us about yourself.

Well, I was born in Taiwan but spent the majority of my formative years in Ottawa, which is where I met Elliott, my friend and music collaborator since high school. I’m from a modest middle-class family that isn’t particularly musical, but my mom used to take me to record stores a lot, where I’d spent hours flipping through records, which definitely facilitated my interest in music. Other than that, I would say I’m a pretty easy-going guy who enjoys simple things like music and movies.

Describe your sound.

It’s always changing depending on the direction the band and I are interested in. Currently, I would say it’s a guitar-based sound based heavily on that of Hank Williams and Ernest Tubb. Simple chords, steady beats, bluesy basslines, and twangy lead guitars accompanied by moaning vocals that always sound like I haven’t eaten in days.

How did you get into music?

I started writing songs in middle school, though they weren’t very good at all. I like to think my songwriting craft has improved somewhat over the years, but that’s up to the listeners to say. In the beginning, I would just throw some chords together on an acoustic guitar and call it a song, but after I met Elliott who is mainly a drummer, we were able to create more polished music. We initially were into alternative rock and punk and all that, of course, we were both moody teenagers back then.

Where did your love for country music come from?

I really like the fact that it’s a very simple form of music, made by everyday people talking about their everyday lives. Working a job they don’t like, getting their heart broken, or sharing some beer with your buddies after a long day, that kind of stuff. It can be happy or sad, but either way, it usually feels very

real and relatable, at least for me. There’s also a lot of room for finding your own sound in country music, which I really appreciate.

You seem to be more inspired by old-school country. Why is that?

I find that old-school country has more soul. Country music used to be about people who wanted to live outside the system, people who were trying their best to navigate life and make the most of it. Nowadays, it seems to all be about trucks, partying in a barn, and girls in short jeans. I do think it has

become hard to distinguish modern country from regular pop music. For me, it seems like country music has lost some of its identity in the effort to compete with more mainstream genres today.

Do you like any contemporary country?

I do actually. I think artists like Sturgill Simpson and Sierra Ferrell succeeded in keeping the charm of old country music in their work but also add in their own, contemporary twist. I definitely recommend people check them out.

Where did the band name come from?

Well, Hank Williams had his Drifting Cowboys and Buck Owens had his Buckaroos. The combination of those two names gave me the idea for the Wandering Buckaroos. I quite like the idea of a roaming posse just riding around stirring up trouble.

How long have you been living in Toronto?

It’s coming up to three years now! I moved here when I started undergrad at U of T, and now I’m halfway through my third year.

How has the music scene here shaped you as an artist?

Toronto has a really vibrant music scene. Many of my friends here also have their own musical projects. I think seeing all these people putting themselves out there and telling their stories inspired me to seriously throw my hat in the ring as well. This is definitely the place to be if you have the music dream.

What are some of your favourite local bands/artists?

My buddy Matt drums for a band, I think they were considering the name “Elle and Ils”, because the lead singer is named Elle, and the rest of the band is a bunch of guys. They played at Sneaky Dee’s a while back, and I dig their music quite a lot. Other than them, Elliott put me on this roots rock band from

Toronto called Blue Rodeo, they’re also very good.

What inspires you?

A good story, I think. When I see a movie or hear a song that tells a good story, it makes me want to create something that can make other people feel the emotions these stories have made me feel.

Tell us about your new album. Where was it recorded? How do you get that old-timey sound just right?

The new album has been a long time coming. We started working on it before Christmas of 2023 and it’s finally coming out on most every platform in March. It was recorded partly in my apartment and partly in Elliott’s basement. To get the old-timey sound right, we relied on the classic blues progression when writing the bass and guitar parts, in addition to writing guitar licks and solos that are reminiscent of those you would hear in an old country song. The sound of the guitar also helped. Effects like delay, chorus, and reverb are essential to getting that classic, twangy sound.

What sets them apart from your previous works?

I think the new album is a big step forward for us. The eight-song album includes six originals, unlike our last EP which was all covers. We also experimented with new mixing techniques that hopefully provide a more pleasant sound quality. It is also interesting to me that it’s as if we’re moving along the timeline of country music. The first EP was composed of songs from the 1800s, now with the debut album we tackled the honkytonk-esque sound of 1940s country.

What's next for Scott Lyman & The Wandering Buckaroos?

Because making a full-length album was such a big endeavour, I think we’ll take on a smaller project such as an EP before beginning work on a second album. I’ve always wanted to cover some old-timey gospel songs, so maybe that’d be a place to start. One thing I can say for sure is that we’ll explore a more country-rock sound for the second album, inspired by the likes of Waylon Jennings and the other artists part of the “outlaw country” movement in the 1970s.

What advice would you give an artist who is just starting out?

I have two main pieces of advice that I think artists just starting out would appreciate. Firstly, try doing some covers first. It’s a good way to showcase not only your musical ability but also to give listeners an idea of what you’re about. Secondly, don’t pay to distribute your music. Most likely if you’re just starting out, your music won’t make enough money to break even with the upfront fees. Instead, go for the free distribution option. Sure, it might be slow, and the distribution company might be taking a percentage of your earnings, but at least you won’t be losing money.

Anyone you would like to shout out?

Jeez, there are too many. I’m very appreciative of my friends and family, of course, they have always been very supportive, especially my mom. My faithful posse, the Wandering Buckaroos: Elliott, Gittel, and Nicole, who have all been essential to our creative process. My friend Sam’s sister, Rachel, has given us so much support (check out her band Candy Fumes, they rock). Last but not least our listeners. It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to provide them with music they enjoy, and I’m grateful for the opportunity.

You can listen to Lonesome And Blue by Scott Lyman & The Wandering Buckaroos here:

and follow them at @scottsbuckaroos on Instagram


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