Katie Buchanan

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Originally from Kansas, singer-songwriter Katie Buchanan explores a vein of subtle guitar pop steeped in Americana and heartbreak. She plays around New York rock clubs, drinks too much whiskey, and combines Midwest honesty with the directness that accompanies living in the city. After a series of water-testing projects—Buchanan is obsessively prolific, recording numerous EPs and one-offs—Buchanan pushed herself to make Go, a five-song EP with a polished sound but a DIY heart. She is a diligent professional, a skilled songwriter, and a direct artist—not to mention an expert guitarist. Her music is the internalization of type-A dedication and an enthusiast’s eye. Go came from the dramatic end of a childhood friendship. “When we’re young, we have these incredibly formative friendships that shape who we are as people,” Buchanan muses. “But they’re rarely given the weight when they fall apart.” Twenty years is a long time to know someone. Another connection to her home severed, Buchanan channeled her alienation into nuanced, striking songs. Go doesn’t stew in self-doubt, therapy or narcissism — like Buchanan, it just moves on. A total workaholic, Buchanan is comfortable with her incessant touring and recording alone in her home studio. She plays all instruments, records, and produces herself. She practices guitar endlessly, and thinks of lyrics in terms of meaning and mouthfeel. In person, she is deadpan and charmingly obsessed. She can — and does — wax philosophical about whiskey, chocolate, coffee, and guitars. Right: Buchanan loves guitars pathologically. Her Facebook page is full of typical show updates, and the occasional photo of espresso, but functions as a showcase for her universe of Fenders, Taylors, and steel-strings. She comes from a musical family out of Kansas, and her guitars—new, vintage, classic—alternate like a batting lineup. She enjoys solos, but finds inspiration in rhythm guitar and her trio’s tight groove. She worked through her devastation with the appraising eye of the obsessive — on record, the emotions are subsumed into the subtle production and mature songwriting. Guitars swoop in, riff together, lock into complicated grooves, circle around each other. Her voice is high in the mix, defining the record’s sound with its smoky, soulful tone. Her lyrics revolve around escape, detachment, and dysfunction. The songs are backroads inflected with Americana, played with restraint and nuance, rhythmic and palpitating. No turbo-charged “rootsiness” or fake twangs: Buchanan knows how to let her songs breathe, and doesn’t compromise open space for beat. Go is an album with direction, and Buchanan’s constant touring will bring it to life onstage. The title signifies a beginning and an end, and yet the nuances of her guitar-work and songwriting swirl around each other, almost endless. Her new EP, "GO" is out now. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.