The Buckleys on following their daydreams, their pub rock lineage and the devastating death of INXS manager Chris Murphy

FAMILY AFFAIR: Byron Bay siblings, from left, Lachlan, Sarah and Molly Buckley were talent-scouted by legendary INXS manager Chris Murphy and have steadily built hype through the release of their debut album Daydream.
FAMILY AFFAIR: Byron Bay siblings, from left, Lachlan, Sarah and Molly Buckley were talent-scouted by legendary INXS manager Chris Murphy and have steadily built hype through the release of their debut album Daydream.

When a bushfire tore through the southern edge of Tenterfield in September 2019, The Buckley's had been on their way to town.

The trio from Byron Bay were booked to play at the Peter Allen Festival, but their show was cancelled in the wake of the fire.

"We've been trying to get back ever since, and bring our live music," Sarah Buckley told the Tenterfield Star.

This weekend they get that opportunity as part of the Lift The Country Spirits concert at Tenterfield Showground, which was organised by the show society in response to the horror bushfire season 18 months ago and the drought.

Sarah, Lachlan and Molly, the children of former Radiators drummer Mick Buckley, grew up in Byron Bay, and on a 2011 family holiday Mick drove the kids from Byron Bay to the Tamworth Country Music Festival.

At the time Sarah was 11, Lachlan 10 and Molly 9. They made an instant impact.

The Buckleys finished top-10 in a 600-strong busking contest, which they didn't even realise was a competition.

"We thought we were busking for petrol money home or something," Molly jokes.

The Buckleys - Money

Over the next few years The Buckleys continued to develop their craft, while Sarah began making regular trips to Nashville from 16 to attend songwriting workshops.

Sarah co-wrote Strawberry Footprints, the closing track on Felicity Urquhart's 2019 album Frozen Rabbit and later that year the trio travelled to Nashville to make their debut album Daydream with two-time Grammy Award-winning producer Chad Carlson (Taylor Swift, Jewel).

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But the biggest break of their career came courtesy of Chris Murphy, the business genius behind INXS.

In 2019 The Buckleys signed with Murphy's Petrol Records - a joint venture with US-based Universal Music - joining INXS as the only other act on the label.

Murphy heard The Buckleys' music through a mutual industry contact and invited the trio to his Sugar Beach Ranch at nearby Ballina where they forged their business relationship over hot dogs and milkshakes.

"It was insane the day we found out he wanted to have a meeting with us," Molly says. "We've always been gobsmacked by it.

"It was such an incredible honour for him to want to talk to us and be part of that journey."

Under Murphy's tutelage The Buckleys released four top-five singles - Daydream, I'm Comin' For Ya (Love), Money and Breathe and - in the Australian Country charts.

The singles would all appear on The Buckleys' debut album Daydream, which was released last September.

The bright and sunny mix of country, pop, indie rock and folk has been described as "hippie country" and led to rave reviews from respected publications American Songwriter and Rolling Stone.

The release was delayed by COVID and the pandemic also prevented The Buckleys from touring to capitalise on their swelling fan base.

With state borders open and festivals and touring slowly becoming possible again, The Buckleys are hopeful of making up for lost time.

Sadly Murphy won't be around to see the three-piece's success. On January 16 Murphy died aged 66 after a battle with cancer.

"We were obviously really close and it was devastating to see him go," Sarah says. "But he was such a big part of our lives and he changed us and made us better in every way."

Molly agrees and says Murphy continues to inspire the band.

"He was such a driving force for us to be better and make him proud," she says.

Having released successful singles and an album, The Buckleys will next week tick off another longstanding career goal when they perform at their local Bluesfest on Good Friday, the day before the Tenterfield concert.

"Bluesfest has been a massive goal for us for 10 years," Sarah says.

The next day at Tenterfield will be a chance for the crowd to dance again, Molly and Sarah said, after the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

"Everyone's going to dance, dancing's compulsory," Sarah laughed.

"Our set is up (tempo), and almost rock 'n roll, so it's going to be really great that people can dance now," Molly said.

Catch The Buckleys along with Shannon Noll, Melanie Dyer, Nine Year Sister and Tahlia Matheson at Lift The Country Spirits. Tickets are available online at: www.trybooking.com. Tickets are $20 if purchased online or $30 at the gate. Gates open 4pm.