Ethan Buckner wants you to see who he really is.
There was that time he was detained by the Egyptian military, accused of being an American spy. Or the time he repelled off a massive highway bridge protesting big oil. Or the time he chained himself to the Oakland police department headquarters after yet another unarmed Black man was shot by cops. Harrowing true story after story, LA indie folk/pop troubadour and activist Ethan Buckner has seen it all. Through trauma and triumph, anxiety and hope, Ethan has always turned to songwriting to try and make sense of it. His forthcoming debut LP Treading Water, produced by grammy nominee Justin Glasco (Paris Paloma, The Lone Bellow), weaves between moments both intimate and anthemic, exploring struggles that are both deeply personal and unavoidably collective.
Much of Treading Water was written by Ethan to process upheaval; he wrote For You as California wildfires choked the air; Eyes on the Prize as uprisings for racial justice swept the nation after George Floyd's murder; Coming Back To Me quite literally broke Ethan through a panic attack in fall 2021; Spring, Treading Water, and Wavering came as Ethan struggled with excruciating migraines and vertigo that persisted for months in early 2022; Reality Check as Ethan reflected on his tumultuous 20s. The record draws upon Ethan's poetic lyricism, intricate guitar work and soulful vocals and infuses raw emotion with soaring hooks and dark and ephemeral soundscapes. Featured musicians include producer and multi-instrumentalist Justin Glasco, along with guitarist Brandon Walters (Lord Huron), vocalist and synth/keyboardist Debbie Neigher (Marina, Suki Waterhouse) and Ethan's brother, drummer Matt Buckner (Frost School of Music).
Buckner is embracing his identity after writing and performing for more than a dozen years under the pseudonym The Minnesota Child. Much of Ethan’s TMC career centered on the Bay Area music scene, where he played many of the region’s iconic stages from The Chapel to Great American Music Hall to Mountain Winery, supporting artists including Jewel and Howie Day. TMC’s 2018 EP, Fireflies, was produced by Jeff Saltzman (The Killers, Blondie) and Matt Buckner. The 5-track record is "a luscious, earthy and uplifting exploration of struggle and hope, perseverance and recovery.” (Atwood).
In 2019, life, love, and an itch to immerse in the epicenter of songwriting brought Ethan to LA. During COVID lockdowns in 2020, Ethan continued creating, self-producing TMC’s final single All We Got Is Time with co-writer Tom Sless. With indoor venues still shuttered, he founded Bring Back The Music, an intimate monthly concert series that continues to attract LA’s up and coming independent artists to Buckner’s enchanting Venice backyard.
For more than the past decade, Ethan has worked full-time with Indigenous, working class, and communities of color to wage campaigns against big oil, gas, and petrochemical companies that threaten harm to communities and the climate. His work for social change, currently for the non-profit Earthworks, seeps into his music, as his anthemic songwriting encapsulates his belief that even in these tumultuous times, a just, equitable, thriving world is still possible.