The Local 913: The Buckle Downs


Pittsburgh soul & rock band The Buckle Downs have just released their debut album Hard Truths. Led by vocalist Kiki Brown, who also teaches at The Sunburst School of Music, the band worked with producer Jake Hanner of the local band Donora. Hanner took notice of Brown at WYEP’s Holiday Hootenanny.

“It was because I did the Holiday Hootenanny. Jake was the drummer and I had no clue because I never looked behind me – I didn’t! But Casey, his sister, who’s also in Donora, she works at Sunburst with me. Jake asked her “Hey! Who’s she?” He told me he did production work, so then we went to Jake’s house we and checked it out. We were like “Yeah, we can totally record here!” It’s a very comfortable atmosphere, low key and not high-pressure staunch studio space. He actually found me and we’ve been working with him for, what, a little over a year.”

Previously, Kiki Brown had made her way in the Pittsburgh music scene by backing up other acts like townsppl and Lyndsey Smith. Taking on the role of front-person for The Buckle Downs meant writing song lyrics for the first time. The learning process of lyric writing left her plenty of room to grow.

“There was no thought behind it, at first. Then I realized that it’s okay to express yourself because that’s what you’re here to do, so maybe you should think about what you want to say. The funny thing about writing for me, Alex [Stanton of townsppl] and I debate on this. Alex says sit down and devote a certain amount of time. I’m like nope, it just has to come from my brain. I don’t hear lyrics first, I hear songs. They might play something and I think that should be like an “OOOOOH” and then a find a word that goes with “OOOOOH” and then it just goes. I have to hear the sounds first.”

For more on The Buckle Downs go to their website.