Hank Wonder
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Hank Wonder

Boston, MA | Established. Jan 01, 2013

Boston, MA
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Americana Soul

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Jun
28
Hank Wonder @ Club Passim

Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

Jun
22
Hank Wonder @ Wright Locke Farm

Winchester, Massachusetts, United States

Winchester, Massachusetts, United States

Feb
17
Hank Wonder @ Atwood's Tavern

Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

Music

Press


"Hank Wonder releases new CD in Somerville Dec. 10"

(Originally published on Thursday, December 7, 2017)

There’s no one in the group Hank Wonder called Hank Wonder. The core members – vocalist Darren Buck, fiddler and violist Annie Bartlett, and guitarist Michael Loria – play music that’s described by Buck, a Sherborn native who now lives in Arlington, as part country (Hank Williams) and part soul (Stevie Wonder).

The former trio, which constantly changes shape when guest players join them, are set to appear at Once Ballroom in Somerville on Dec. 10 in septet format, featuring Max Toste on bass, Bob Metzger on pedal steel guitar, Mina Kim on cello, and Derek Landel on drums. The occasion is a celebration for the release of their new CD “Little Mysteries.”

Taking some time out from writing songs, playing gigs, teaching graphic design and silkscreen printing at his alma mater Dover-Sherborn High School, and running his poster design business Honolulu Ghost Print Shop, Buck, 46, spoke about his own love affair with music and how the band started.

“Part of what got me interested was that my mom really liked country music, and my dad was a big jazz head. And we had music by the classic balladeers, like Sam Cooke, playing at home,” said Buck. “Also, I remember, when I was in second or third grade, one morning my dad left the house and was all hush-hush about where he was going. Then he came back with a jukebox. That was really big for me, because it came with records in it, and it had a big variety of music.”

Buck sang in a couple of bands during high school, then went off to Syracuse University where, fascinated by the idea of logos and brands and ads, he earned a degree in advertising design. But there was always the music.

“In my sophomore year there, I was singing in a funk-jazz-influenced rock band called Professor Spoon,” he said. “We ended up moonlighting a lot in New York City, playing at different clubs, which is how I initially made it to New York.”

The other part of that equation is that during his last semester at Syracuse, he started dating Claudia, a North Andover native who is now his wife. After graduating, she landed a job in New York City, so they both moved there, staying for a decade, then making the decision to come back to Massachusetts to start a family in 2004.

“Right after that, the teaching job at Dover-Sherborn High kind of fell into my lap,” said Buck. A few years later, he entered grad school at MassArt, and secured a master of science degree in art education.

But he was still singing in bands. Professor Spoon had ended, but Buck, along with that band’s drummer, Derek Landel, both wanting to put together a soul band, had started the Duke Baxter Band back in 2001, and still play a few limited gigs a year.

Yet the origins of Hank Wonder go back even earlier.

“It was around 1998. I was still living in New York, and was between bands. Duke Baxter hadn’t started yet,” recalled Buck. “I got the idea for a band that had both country and soul music, and placed an ad in the Village Voice, but nobody responded.”

Shoot up to 2013, and Buck, all settled in Arlington, sat in as a guest vocalist in Miss Ellaneous, a Winchester-based band that did special annual shows, and featured two women who were friends of his back in Syracuse. When he was asked to do it again the following year, some band members had changed, and it now included Annie Bartlett and Michael Loria.

“I wanted to do the Everly Brothers song ‘Let It Be Me’,” said Buck, “and I wanted to do it with just Mike on acoustic guitar and Annie on fiddle. At our rehearsal I realized this was the kind of sound I envisioned years before, but never pursued. We got together soon after that for a benefit concert as the Hank Wonder Trio.”

A Hank Wonder concert today might still include that Everly Brothers song, but a few years ago, Buck got into writing original songs, and “Little Mysteries” is packed with them. An outstanding one in the bunch is the upbeat country tune “Clover,” about which Buck says, “I’d been listening to a lot of Buck Owens, and I wanted to write a song that Buck Owens might sing or at least what I imagined he would sing. So ‘Clover’ has a sort of countrified, catchy chorus.”

Of the upcoming Once show, he said, “I think we’ll do the whole album, in order; that will be the first set. For the second set we have about eight cover songs we still do (a YouTube search revealed that they do very cool covers of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” and Journey’s “Lights”), and three or four non-album songs, that either didn’t make it on the album or weren’t written yet when we recorded it.”

Hank Wonder plays a CD release show at Once Ballroom in Somerville on Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. Tickets: $10-$14, Info: 617-285-0167. - The Patriot Ledger (Ed Symkus)


Discography

Little Mysteries (2017)

Photos

Bio

Somewhere on the musical map, where the twang of Classic Country meets the grit of Southern Soul, Hank Wonder marks a detour down a sonic stretch of unpaved road. The Boston-based trio of Annie Bartlett (fiddle and viola), Darren Buck (vocals), and Michael Loria (guitar) first came together in 2013, and have since crafted their very own soulful blend of Americana: equal parts down home and gussied up.

In November 2016, the band entered Dimension Sound Studios in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts to record its debut album with producer and multi-instrumentalist Charlie Rose (Elephant Revival, Barnstar). Little Mysteries soon emerged as a strong set of 12 originals, each penned by Buck. Skillfully engineered by Dan Cardinal (Josh Ritter, Darlingside) and mixed by Lorne Entress (Lori McKenna, Mark Erelli), these tales of Downeast canoe rides, fables of reckless children, and odes to fine bourbon reward each new listen with lush layers of production, musicianship, and songcraft.

Band Members