Katie Buchanan is an indie-pop singer/songwriter and producer. She plays guitar loudly, drinks whiskey slowly, and writes songs that beg for a second listen. Her sophomore album, Who We Are When We’re Standing, will be released.
Katie Buchanan grew up in a big enough suburb of a big enough city in Kansas. No farm, no cows, only the occasional tornado. Born into a long line of musicians, she learned the blues by the campfire and wrote her first song on her piano-tuner grandfather’s out of tune piano. Her family tree is full of St. Louis radio stars, southern railroad workers, and 1970s concert addicts. Her Baby’s First Mozart was Led Zeppelin IV.
In 2007, Buchanan moved to New York City to study at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music. There, her Americana roots ran head-on into modern production methods. Her first two EPs, 2013’s Another Beat and 2014’s Go, merged home spun samples, anthemic choruses, and quiet reflections. In 2015, her debut album, GLOW, introduced slow-burner pop textures and synth-based melodies, while keeping a sharp focus on her bluesy guitar work and double take lyrics (think Alabama Shakes meets Hannah Georgas).
Who We Are When We’re Standing, follows in this tradition of combination. Exuberant lead singles “Floating” and “Oh Lord” anchor upbeat, guitar driven pop with dirty polyrhythms and grounded vocals. Lyrically centered tracks like “Stand with Me” and “The Song About You” begin with intimate vocal focus and end with soaring, cathartic choruses.
The title, pulled from “Stand with Me,” reflects the album’s core theme: standing still and standing tall. It echoes through the war metaphors of “Doubt In My Mind” to the existential declarations on “I Can Be.” The record ends with the aptly named “Beginnings and Ends,” which grapples with the trap of hindsight, ultimately declaring it better to want what’s left than dwell on what’s lost.
As the sole writer, performer, and producer of her work, Buchanan is a strong new voice in the ongoing call for increased female authorship at all levels of music. In addition to her own releases, she produces albums for other women, creating spaces for young female artists to learn the language of the studio and to develop the tools needed to navigate the music industry.
Buchanan’s work has won kind words and Dorothy puns from a number of outlets, including The Village Voice, Guitar World, and American Songwriter. In their review of GLOW, No Depressionsaid, “It’s these under the radar artists like Katie Buchanan that renew my belief that in the right hands, rock is not dead so long as it’s presented on a plate of spicy true blues tradition with a little electronica.”
“Floating,” the first single from Who We Are When We’re Standing, is out now.
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