Kelly Buchanan
Gig Seeker Pro

Kelly Buchanan

Band Rock Pop


This band hasn't logged any future gigs

This band hasn't logged any past gigs

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Kelly Buchanan is just what we need: A homegrown singer-songwriter of the hell-hath-no-fury-like-a-woman-scorned school.... Be careful not to get too close, though -- these lyrics could rip you to shreds."
- The Boston Globe

"A sonic collage of rage, anger, empathy, regret, love, lust and resignation... Brilliantly infectious slabs of rock-pop tune-smithery... Kelly Buchanan's voice is stunning."

"Another true riot girl... Buchanan may be the Ani DiFranco for everybody."

"Kelly Buchanan's new CD 'Bastard Daughter' is going to get in your personal space, rip you a new asshole, break you down from everything you are and still leave you with a smile on your face without a clue as to what just happened -- and you'll enjoy every waking second of it.... This is the girl everyone's been waiting for."
- Pace Press (Pace University, NYC)

- For more press, visit Kelly's publicist Little Big Man:

In the harsh glow of retrospect, Alanis Morrisette really ruined it for
every other girl with a guitar and a dream of writing good, emotional pop
songs. The mid-90’s overexposure of the shrill voiced, lyrically inept
Canadian was enough to cause legions of music fans to turn their noses up at
any new songwriter who happened to female. Though there has been some new
acceptance of the female songwriter breed, in part to due to the success of
Michelle Branch and others (who are basically just differently marketed
versions of the teen pop idol), finding success as a mature and intelligent
female singer-songwriter is still something of an uphill battle.

Luckily, for the sake of the guitar weilding girls and their fans everywhere, it’s a
battle Kelly Buchanan is willing to fight.
The New York based artist, who made her second appearance at Greensboro’s
The Exchange last Thursday, is quickly establishing a name for herself in
the music world.

Since learning to play the piano at age three and studying
at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, playing music has been a vital
part of Buchanan’s life. She credits a long and diverse list of artists as
influence and inspiration: Jeff Buckley and PJ Harvey were the first that
came to mind when Buchanan was asked about influences, and both are apparent
in her music. The vocal delicacy of Buckley is reflected in Buchanan’s
voice, especially the lovely, affecting falsetto she utilizes in some of her
slower ballads. Meanwhile, her sharp, tough electric guitar riffs and
frequently dark lyrics and images, such as “bleeding razors bleeding blue”
reflect the music of Harvey. Buchanan also mentioned an affinity for a wide
variety of other musicians, including Jane’s Addiction, Sheryl Crow
(especially the Globe Sessions album), and The Pixies.
Buchanan even frequently covers The Pixies live.

“I love playing ‘Where is
My Mind’,” she said before starting her set.

The variety of covers she
works into her live sets also speaks of the variety of artists that have
influenced Buchanan. In addition to her lovely, acoustic take on “Where is
My Mind,” Buchanan also frequently covers Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now,”,
and some perhaps less expected songs, such as The Misfits’ “Skills” and
“Closer” by Nine Inch Nails. The latter she transforms from grim industrial
to an openly emotional ballad, and succeeds in not just making the cover a
stunt, but an artist reinterpreting a work she genuinely cares about.

Buchanan has already self-released two albums, 1999’s mostly solo acoustic
Bipolar World and 2002’s full band album, Match. She is currently working
on her third, which Buchanan describes as being “pretty rock” and “a little
more dirty and electric.” She is hoping to have it released by the spring,
but Buchanan excitedly reports that the album has attracted the attention of
several independent labels, and its ultimate release date could be
determined by whether or not it gets picked up.

Regardless of the record’s fate, though, Buchanan will undoubtedly continue
touring and playing music. She’s toured up and down the East Coast, playing
amongst other places, Boston, Atlanta, and Florida. She frequently does
shows at New York’s CBGB.

“That’s my place in New York,” she says of the
legendary venue.

Throughout her constant touring, Buchanan has developed a
strong following, and various rave reviews, including one from Rolling
Stone’s Rob Sheffield.

Indeed, it is Buchanan’s live presence and charisma that is one of her
greatest strengths. Her voice is immediately arresting and displays great
range, and onstage she conveys a mixture of confidence and vulnerability
that is tremendously appealing. While singing, her facial expressions
reflect the various emotions she is going expressing without seeming
contrived, and the occasional mid-song roll of her eyes conveys an appealing
innocence and slightly self-deprecating humor.

This humor is reflected in
her between song banter as well; after a song in which the chorus offered a
lover the choice of “a ring or a gun,” Buchanan quietly said “he chose the

Her guitar playing was excellent as well, as she ably switched
between an acoustic and electric guitar, playing both with enthusiasm, and
even without the benefit of a back-up band was able to create an energetic
musical experience.

So forget Alanis Morissette and Michelle Branch, and check out Kelly
Buchanan. Even if you swore off girls with guitars forever, Buchanan just
might be able to change your mind.
(for more info or to hear her music, check out
-Josh Brarrer
- Carolinian (1/29/04)

POP. If you were being held by a rapist at gunpoint, would you acquiesce and save yourself or struggle and go down in a hail of bullets? It’s an unsettling question that forms the unlikely premise for "Body Bag," a typically atypical track off Bastard Daughter, the new album by the rough-hewn Berklee-graduated singer-songwriter Kelly Buchanan. Kelly’s answer, delivered in a stream of invective that belies the song’s modulated guitar-pop melody, is that it isn’t worth risking one’s life to stay "pure": anyone who would die for the sanctity of her feminine honor, she sings, has values just as twisted as the rapist’s. (She sums up the absurdity of the opposing argument in a vicious couplet: "My pussy’s priceless, so go ahead and shoot me.") Also, she points out, the asshole would probably do you after he shot you anyway. In all, an interesting argument. And though we’re not sure it gains anything in the transfer from late-night dorm-room rap session to glossy folk-rock song, on the whole, Buchanan’s work takes bigger risks than anything passing for adult contemporary these days. She’s at the Paradise Lounge, 969 Commonwealth Avenue in Boston; call (617) 562-8814 - Boston Pheonix (1/14/05)

Kelly Buchanan doesn't pull her punches, musically or lyrically.

‘‘It's kind of obvious I'm not too constrained, and certainly not censored,'' Buchanan said. ‘‘I like to think that's for the better. My grandparents might not agree.''

Fans of the uninhibited songwriter already know that from her lively shows and previous two albums, which ranged from acoustic folk to skittery punk rock, but all with unvarnished candor and unabashed passion in the lyrics.

Buchanan's new CD, ‘‘Bastard Daughter,'' is a leap into the front ranks of rock 'n' roll songwriting, as the former Berklee College of Music student presents some of the most uncompromising music on the contemporary scene.

Buchanan, who now splits her time between New York City and Boston, celebrates the CD's release tonight with a free show at the Paradise Lounge in Boston.

Buchanan's set will begin around 9:30 p.m., and the bands Grey Star Morning and Audrey Can't Die also will be performing.

Where Buchanan's debut CD ‘‘A Bipolar World'' in 1999 was solo acoustic, and her 2002 ‘‘Match'' veered deftly between folk and punk with small band settings, the new disc rocks all the way.

Buchanan is mainly backed by a quartet, as she will be tonight, with longtime cohort Josh Sadler-Brown on guitars, Jason Currin on drums and Mac Ritchey on bass. Buchanan's music might invite comparisons to Ani DiFranco, Alanis Morissette or PJ Harvey, but her voice is at once more dynamic and yet more vulnerable than any of them. Her love of the late Jeff Buckley's vocals becomes apparent with repeated listenings to this album, her raw emotion and fearless approach absolutely riveting.

‘‘I think my sound developed over the past few years, after I'd gone solo quite awhile,'' Buchanan said. ‘‘I started playing duo gigs with Jason around New York, and then he moved to Atlanta. That ended up opening doors for me down south, and we were able to get the whole East Coast covered in the past couple years. But the rock sound you hear now developed out of that duo thing: my electic guitar and his drum kit.''

While the new album's music carries a visceral kick seldom heard these days from any rockers, it will be Buchanan's lyrics that turn heads.

In a semi-tongue-in-cheek jab at an old beau, Buchanan gleefully tells the self-centered mope he's been named ‘‘Xxxhole of the Year.'' The furious punk rocker ‘‘Gun or a Ring'' advises a reluctant lover ‘‘It's an all or nothing world, And I got big dreams, I want a gun or a ring; either love me now or kill this thing.''

The most provocative tune on the new disc is undoubtedly ‘‘Body Bag,'' which depicts a woman faced with being raped at gunpoint. Should she resist and be killed? ‘‘What are you doing with your life, that you would trade it all for the honor of your thighs?'' Could this striking and even disturbing song have grown out of personal experience?

‘‘Actually it was, and I thought it would generate more direct questions,'' Buchanan said, noting that most questioners skirt the issue. She added that she had been booked to play at a Take Back the Night event at Boston University a couple years ago, where the organization of rape survivors had a march, discussions and then an open forum. Waiting to play after the forum, Buchanan heard a young girl detail her sexual assault, which she had escaped before the rape was committed.

‘‘What happened to allow her to escape wasn't clear, but she had been traumatized,'' Buchanan recalled. ‘‘She said she thinks about it all the time, and has horrible dreams about it. She said, like nine out of 10 women, she thinks she'd rather die than be raped. If the issue had gone that far, she said she'd have chosen having him pull the trigger.

‘‘That was really profoundly disturbing to me, especially coming as it did to a crowd full of rape survivors,'' Buchanan said. ‘‘As if it were a choice. It's not a choice, but it is such a dirty, severe, violent act that many women don't want to live with the stigma. She didn't feel her life was valuable enough not to sacrifice it.

‘‘I actually took the mike that night and addressed her,'' Buchanan went on. ‘‘I told her her life did have meaning, she had tons of friends, and family that cared about her, and it would be a shame to lose her over an orifice in her body. The next day I was telling some friends at Berklee about the incident, and they were agreeing with the girl's sentiments. I was stunned, that people would actually feel their life was worth less than their sex. I had to write this song to publicly vent.''

Buchanan has her own horrific experience to share. ‘‘Clearly, in the second verse I put myself in the same position,'' she said. ‘‘I talk about the choice I had to make in the same situation myself, and I wouldn't be here today if I hadn't made that choice. I had never dealt with it before, and had struggled quite a bit with it. It all hit home with me, and writing this song helped clarify the matter in my mind. It was - Patriot Ledger (1/14/05)

In Go's blue period, there's no question that Kelly Buchanan is just what we need: A homegrown singer-songwriter of the hell-hath-no-fury-like-a-woman-scorned school. In fact Buchanan, a Berklee-trained confessional poet of the guitar, put herself on this map with "A Bipolar World," a solo acoustic release in 1999. She got a band together for her second CD, and now she's celebrating the release of a third, "Bastard Daughter", with a free show at the Paradise Lounge. Hers is a loud, audacious alto, and her power-chord guitar licks ring like Matthew Sweet with much more brio. But there's enough breezy, bright pop to even things out - never mind that just watching her onstage could qualify as its own entertainment. Be careful not to get too close though - these lyrics could rip you to shreds. At 10 p.m. 969 Commonwealth Ave., 617-562-8800. - Amy Graves - The Boston Globe (2/14/05)

Riding a tiny critical buzz (that will doubtlessly explode into a full-blown thing), this Boston folksinger injects contemporary, genre-hopping style into her music, which means that, unlike every other folk singer out there, Buchanan is actually interseting. Which means that tiny buzz may actaull be warranted. (Tuesday, Feb. 18, "Kashmir" at Slingapour's)
-Jason Ferguson - Orlando Weekly (2/13/03)

Buchanan's voice is her strength; while her personal songwriting draws apt comparisons to Ani DiFrano, her voice fills a room with a round warmth that's quite a pleasure. - Flagpole (5/12/04)


Bastard Daughter, 2005, LP (full rock band)*
Match, 2002, LP (full rock band)**
Bipolar World, 1999 LP (solo acoustic recording)**

*Top 20 CMJ add, (printed in CMJ magazine March 21, 2005)
**full streaming available at


Feeling a bit camera shy


"Kelly Buchanan's voice is the bulldozer rampaging down the center aisle of the health food store," writes Rolling Stone's Rob Sheffield. "It's simple: get out of the way or get run over." Indeed, this audacious singer-guitarist, a product of the fertile Boston rock scene who now lives in New York, has a tendency to lure you to the X on the sidewalk with a bright melody and a perfect hook before dropping a piano on your head. And when it happens, it's the most welcome collision you've ever experienced.

You could say she's a more energetic PJ Harvey. Maybe she's Ani DiFranco packing heat. Or just ask Kelly herself. "I like rock and roll," she says matter-of-factly, and just like that, Kelly Buchanan needs no further introduction. She just needs a little room to let loose, and the world might need a seatbelt and a stiff drink to survive it.

This is a girl who once explored a jungle in Brazil alone, carrying around a pocketknife and a can of mace for company. Kelly Buchanan brings the same adventurous attitude to her music. Bastard Daughter, her third album, can charm you with its graceful guitar movements even as her lyrics cut you in half with unabashed ferocity. Her gritty exploration of abuse, feminism, and the most painful aspects of love may find a balance with her equally honest and animated forays into desire and adoration, but there's no point in trying to dodge the explosive "Cocaine" or trying to hide from the sharp edges of "Body Bag."

Balance that against the lush pop of "Letter In Your Mailbox," the syncopated thrust of "I Don't Want To Know You" or the delicate, wistful "Lullaby" and you have a picture of Bastard Daughter: by turns alluring, disturbing, energizing and draining, a unified roller coaster of feeling set to an inventive, slightly skewed rock soundtrack.

Kelly debuted with a solo acoustic record, 1999's A Bipolar World. After splitting time between studying at Penn State University and the Berklee College of Music, as well as traveling and performing from Boston to Buenos Aires, France to Ecuador -- and yes, Brazil -- Kelly worked toward her full-band record, 2002's Match. Now, with the release of Bastard Daughter in 2005, Kelly Buchanan has refined the sound she developed in her sophomore release. "Match was all over the place," she confesses. "I was trying to please everyone. Bastard Daughter really has a direction, as an album. This time, it was like, 'This is mine. I'm gonna make this what I want, and nobody is gonna argue with me.'"

While marching her energetic rock shows up and down the east coast from Massachusetts to Florida, Kelly has played venues ranging from small coffee houses to some of New York and Boston's premier clubs. Along the way, she earned an army of fans that ultimately financed the making of Bastard Daughter. In exchange for CDs of demos, autographed advance copies of the finished record, liner note thank-yous and other goodies, fans donated to the making of the album from before the start of recording all the way through mixing, mastering and manufacturing. It's an innovative strategy and one that demonstrates how Kelly Buchanan touches lives and inspires loyalty from her listeners.