The Minnesota Child’s frontman Ethan Buckner picked up the guitar at 16 and started writing songs after he witnessed death for the first time. Ethan channeled his own grief and love into his newfound passion for poetry and melody. The raw and emotional spirit of Ethan’s songwriting is infused into the lush indie folk/pop sound of Fireflies, the 2018 full band debut of San Francisco Bay Area-based The Minnesota Child. Produced by Jeff Saltzman (The Killers, Blondie) and Ethan’s brother, drummer/producer Matt Buckner, the album is “a life affirming, joyful collection of songs that find the beauty in both the dark and the light” (Impose). For fans of Head and the Heart, Justin Vernon, and Ben Howard, Fireflies is a soundtrack for a hike in the woods or a cruise on the open road.
Since premiering Fireflies in 2018 by headlining San Francisco’s historic Great American Music Hall, The Minnesota Child is picking up steam. Ethan went on to tour solo across the US and Canada, promoting the band’s new record in between breathtaking visits to 12 national parks. Ethan’s full-time gig is with the nonprofit Earthworks, where he works with indigenous, working class, and communities of color to wage campaigns against big oil, gas, and petrochemical companies. His work for social change seeps into his music, as his anthemic songwriting encapsulates “my belief that even in these dark times, a just, equitable, thriving world is still possible.” Ethan’s sometimes-astonishing juggle between full-time environmental justice campaigns and pursuing his musical dreams has landed him on stages across the Bay Area and beyond, supporting artists such as Jewel and Howie Day.
Fireflies imbued new powerful rhythms, intricate instrumentals, and lavish harmonies into Ethan’s songs, but the songwriting stays true to his Midwestern, singer/songwriter origins. Driving carefree through the redwoods along a cross-country road trip with close friends in 2011, Ethan chose the pseudonym The Minnesota Child because “the songs I write evoke a yearning for home, whether that lies in a place, a person, or by finding a sense of purpose in life.”
Ethan’s heart-centered ethos comes alive in Fireflies, from the powerful choir-backed chorus of Home to the sentimental Stay With Me, “a luscious, earthy and uplifting exploration of struggle and hope, perseverance and recovery” (Atwood Magazine). To Ethan, “There was no question when starting this record that Fireflies was the anchor and the anthem. The song – and the title – encapsulate the themes of light and darkness, hope and despair, from the personal to the collective and back.”