Columbus, OH

Dave Buker and the Historians muse on fourth full-length album, ‘Heirlooms’

The Lantern
(left to right) Leanna Buker, Joseph Spurlock, Dave Buker, Daniel Ita and Brogan Reilly, the five members of Dave Buker and the Historians. The band’s newest album, “Heirlooms,” comes out June 2 and was made possible by a Greater Columbus Arts Council grant. Credit: Tiera Suggs

Formed in 2010, Columbus-based band Dave Buker and the Historians is not averse to change.

The alternative Americana quintet — consisting of spouses Dave and Leanna Buker, Daniel Ita, Brogan Reilly and Joseph Spurlock — is preparing for the release of its upcoming record, “Heirlooms.” Showcasing an energetic sound, the album will be available to stream on all platforms starting June 2, lead singer-songwriter Dave Buker said.

“We don’t have a lot of really happy songs,” Dave Buker said. “This album kind of carries on with that theme. But even when it gets serious, hopefully, the lyrics feel like they have a little bit of optimism to them.”

In addition to personnel changes, COVID-19 played a sizable role in the developmental journey of “Heirlooms,” Dave Buker said. While isolated from each other in quarantine, the band’s members honed their home recording skills to make an EP of cover songs, he said.

“That allowed us to develop more of a recording space that was our own, and we used that for a great deal of the recording on this album,” Dave Buker said. “We did do a lot of recording also with Tony Rice at Oranjudio, which is a recording studio in Grandview, so we didn’t do it entirely ourselves. But that was definitely an interesting approach.”

Dave Buker said the freedom provided by home recording helped “Heirlooms” feel fresh, as opportunities to be creative frequently presented themselves.

“You start to be very aware of your tendencies and your patterns,” Dave Buker said. “Being aware of those things is nice because then you can work against them.”

Drummer Joseph “Joe” Spurlock agreed that a willingness to experiment is what shaped “Heirlooms.”

“I saw not long ago Paramore self-described as ‘genre-fluid,’ and I think that’s pretty cool,” Spurlock said. “Particularly on this new album, I think that would apply because there’s a lot of different kinds of influences.”

Spurlock, also a Ph.D. candidate in Ohio State’s College of Education and Human Ecology, said a dramatic and seemingly never-ending track titled “Doldrums” is one of his favorite songs off “Heirlooms.”

“It sounds like it would go over the credits of a Val Kilmer ‘Batman’ movie,” Spurlock said. “It really builds to the end. It’s got strings, all these overlaid sounds and distorted drums.”

Other songs such as “Stubborn Blood” and “Demons” revolve around the theme of mental health, exploring trauma’s ability to pass through generations just as family heirlooms do, Dave Buker said.

“It also speaks to, you know, the reason we use ‘Historians’ as a moniker,” Dave Buker said. “As songwriters, you are documenting moments in your life or the lives of people around you that may have otherwise gone undocumented. Not every single song is about that but there’s definitely a through line.”

To celebrate the release of “Heirlooms,” Dave Buker and the Historians will perform at Natalie’s Music Hall and Kitchen Friday. Event details can be found on Natalie’s website , and further information pertaining to “Heirlooms” is accessible on Dave Buker and the Historians’ website .

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