Chris Buck won’t have far to go when it’s time to head home after headlining this weekend’s Uptown Live street festival.
When he’s not on the road with the Chris Buck Band or carving out a career in Nashville, the singer/songwriter calls New Westminster home base.
“I am excited to play my hometown. I have never done a show in New West ever, in my entire career,” he says. “I know they are going to enjoy the show – I can promise that.”
Buck was born in northern Ontario, but moved to New West with his family when he was a kid, attending his final year of elementary school at FW Howay and going on to graduate from New Westminster Secondary School. Back then, he was really into hockey and played on a team whose banner is on display in Queen’s Park Arena.
“I had some eye issues and a couple of concussions. That ended it for me,” he recalls. “I always loved music, but never really planned on doing music. How I started my career was I started running some karaoke gigs when I was 19/20. I realized I sounded totally country for some odd reason. I remember singing Chattahoochee by Alan Jackson, and my friends were like, ‘Dude you are so country.”
One thing led to another, and soon Buck was in a cover band that performed at local country bars and toured in B.C. and Alberta.
“It wasn’t until I got in a pretty bad car accident that I actually started writing my own music. I had a lot of time at home because I couldn’t work, so I started writing a lot,” he says. “That’s one of my favourite things to do – writing. Now I’m even writing for a lot of other artists. They come to me for songs. That is why I have been living down in Nashville. I am spending about five or six months a year down there just writing music.”
While he’s been dividing his time between Nashville, Tennessee and Canada, Buck is looking to make a move to the country music capital of the world.
“It’s just inspiring,” he said of Nashville. “It’s a little overwhelming when you don’t know people and are trying to make connections to write with some of the bigger writers. Since I have been writing a lot of Billboard singles, they open their door to me a lot more. They’re like, ‘OK, this kid can write.’”
Along with performing and writing music, Buck was working as a process server at the Vancouver courthouse until four years ago. That’s when he decided it was time to focus on his music full time.
“I pretty much sold everything I had and went all-in on music,” he says. “Within a couple months of doing that, I had a top 40 Billboard song. That was Leave Your Light On. That was my first song that went Top 40 on Billboard. Since then, I have had four more, and then also a Top 20 as well on country radio.”
In 2017, the Christ Buck Band was nominated in seven categories for B.C. Country Music Awards, taking home Album of the Year honours for the album, Chris Buck Band. In addition to Leave Your Light On, the album featured singles including Giddy Up, Sun Sets Down and That's When You Know (featuring Kira Isabella.)
“That’s When You Know has got over five millions streams on it on Spotify. We do really well online,” says Buck, who writes all of his band’s songs. “The fact I am writing the stuff, people are listening – that’s the best feeling, just knowing people are listening to the songs I write.”
That’s When You Know has been played worldwide by couples who have chosen the love song as their wedding song.
“They will post videos of my song with them dancing to it online,” Buck says. “It’s pretty bizarre.”
The band’s latest album, All In, released earlier this year, features tunes like Spin On It, Good Ol’ Days and RDNKN (Redneckin’)
“That song down in the U.S. got on a Spotify playlist. None of my other songs have ever gotten on a playlist on Spotify,” Buck says of RDNKN. “In the U.S., it did really well.”
Uptown Live takes place in six city blocks around Sixth and Sixth on Saturday, July 20 from noon to 9 p.m. Along with food trucks, interactive activities, a beer garden and booths, it features live music on four stages, finishing with B.C. Country Music Association Award-winning artists Kadooh at 7 p.m. and the Chris Buck Band at 8 p.m.
Buck says he’s honoured to be headlining Uptown Live and excited about performing for a local crowd that includes friends and family, many who’ve never seen him play because he doesn’t perform in locally very often. Whether attendees are country fans or not, Buck is confident they’ll enjoy the band’s upbeat and fun show that gets people up dancing.
“We are extremely high-energy. A lot of people who might not necessarily be country fans, I find, gravitate to our band because of our sound,” he says. “I think people who are expecting something might be surprised when they see us.”
For a full schedule of Uptown Live, go to www.uptownlive.ca.