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Match made in alt-country heaven


It’s one for the alt-country ages – Suzie Ungerleider (formerly Oh Susanna) and Mariel Buckley, on stage together!

Both well-established singer-songwriters, one based in Vancouver (Ungerleider,) one based in Edmonton (Buckley,) the two secretly admired each other’s music long before they met.

“I’ve been a fan of Suzie’s since my early 20s when I stumbled onto her catalogue,” says Buckley. “Her record Soon the Birds blew me away with the songwriting and depth of her voice, and I’ve been kinda following ever since.”

Both musicians were at Folk Alliance in 2020 and Ungerleider introduced herself after Buckley’s showcase. The next year didn’t do much for anyone’s ability to connect in person but Ungerleider asked Buckley to play in her online “I Hate Valentine’s Day” show, “where we all played bitter heartbreak songs,” Ungerleider says.

They connected again in person in 2021. “She surprised me at a show in Vancouver and I was so stoked!” Buckley says. “After that, she’d keep tabs if I was out west and we mutually agreed how great it would be to do something together.”

And now, the moment has come.

“When I got this invite to play the Foothills Folk Club in High River, I thought it would be the perfect chance to see if Mariel wanted to do a show together in Edmonton,” says Ungerleider, “and she said ‘hell yes!’”

The plan is to have fun, swap songs and tell stories. “I always find it incredibly inspiring to create this kind of communal show. I think it’s going to have a great feeling of camaraderie,” says Ungerleider.

Edmonton favourite Ben Sures will be there on guitar and Ryan Funk (who also plays in Del Barber’s band,) on guitar and pedal steel. “That will also be fun because I’m hoping for some spontaneous textures and solos from those guys too,” Ungerleider adds.

“I’d like to think it’s going to be a really fun time,” says Buckley. “Suzie has a long list of incredible tunes and I’m mostly just excited to sit and listen! I can’t help myself with the bad jokes so there are sure to be some laughs, too.”

“Mariel’s music has killer melodies, detailed imagery and a kind of drive and urgency that is really exciting. I love that she is absolutely authentic in her delivery,” says Ungerleider. “She’s unselfconscious and irreverent as well as warm and endearing.”

“Suzie has a poignant, almost Appalachian delivery style that I really dig,” says Buckley. “It’s a sort of pointed quality that really drives her lyrics home and I love the register she falls in.”

Suzie Ungerleider and Mariel Buckley play Festival Place in Sherwood Park, Nov. 23. Details here.

“Shooting at the Moon” by Mariel Buckley:

“Baby Blues” by Suzie Ungerleider: