Band merchandise is typically created after an album has been released—t-shirts, hats, tote bags are emblazoned with its art or title across it.
But this time around, Chris Buck did things a little differently. The new single from his forthcoming album was named after his friend's hat brand—Rdnkn. "It's a bit of a phenomenon with the hats," Buck says over the phone from Vancouver, shortly after returning from the Canadian Country Music Awards (CCNA). "My friend started the company and I partnered with him last year."
"Rdnkn," meanwhile, dropped on Monday, Sept. 10, with the single set for release on Oct. 6.
"I'm trying to put out an album a year right now," Buck says. "I think this is my best stuff yet."
That's saying a lot, considering the Chris Buck Band was nominated for a 2017 CCMA for the single "That's When You Know," and has earned several British Columbia Country Music Association Awards over the last four years.
Continuing with his trend of gleaning inspiration from unusual places, Buck says he tends to start with a title and work his way back. "I'm all about song titles. A lot of the times I'll walk down the Hallmark card section at (the drugstore) and get the idea off the cards. If I have a great title, I can build a story around the title. I don't try to write about something I'm feeling; it's more about creating something people can feel something off of," he says.
It's also helped that Buck made the move from the Vancouver area to Nashville earlier this year. "I think it was more or less I wanted to get better as a songwriter since I write all my own songs," Buck says. "At the end of the day, it's all about the songs."
While he spent most of the summer touring Canada, he's planning to head back to Music City this fall. "You realize the importance of songwriters there," he says. "You see the bigger artists poking around to find a song. It's pretty neat to see that. A lot of artists nowadays don't write their own music anymore, which is bizarre to me. One of my passions, obviously, is writing. That's why I write all my own stuff."
One of the most surprising discoveries about his new city, though, was seeing the diversity of genres it attracts. "The pop, rock and Christian music market (is big) as well," he adds. "There's country, but Nashville has a lot of urban as well, which shocked me. In the last few years it's been a mecca for songwriters."
He might be on the rise, but Buck says he still holds a soft spot for his annual gig as part of the Pemberton Barn Dance. He's performing at that event on Sept. 22, for the fourth time. "I was telling the promoters, it's a nice way to cap off the year in a beautiful part of the country," he says. "Everyone brings friends and partners for one last shindig of the summer. I like to be part of this event because it's something I've done for so many years. I was one of the first bands to do (the reincarnated event). And I've built relationships with people in that community. For me, it's a nice way to end my summer with family and friends."
Part of the way that Buck has been forging those friendships across the country is through social media. "Anyone who follows me online, I'll follow back—if people want to take the time to follow us," he says.
To that end, you can find the Chris Buck Band on Facebook at facebook.com/chrisbuckband or on Instagram at chrisbuckband.
The Pemberton Barn Dance takes place at the Downtown Community Barn on Sept. 22 from 7:30 p.m. until 12 a.m. The show will also feature Northern Ignition. Tickets are $30 available at AC Gas or the Pemberton Valley Supermarket, cash-only with a limit of four tickets per person.