To say the least, Richard Buckner has a challenging voice. The wrinkled cracks, rung-out drawls and slurred octaves summon up anguish and history. And to some, it’s all too much. If you let Buckner’s voice in, though, you can find as much context in his linguistic output as some of the most evocative voices in music history. Since his ’94 debut, Bloomed, through his essential ’97 album, Devotion + Doubt, and now onto his second release for Merge Records, Meadow, Buckner has been churning out consistently complex and sincere country-noir anchored by his hulking Appalachian vocal delivery.
Back with producer J.D. Foster, who handled his best two albums, Devotion + Doubt and Since, Meadow features Buckner’s most focused work in years. It may be less slogging than most Buckner fans are used to, but despite the more “rock” ways on this release, the major touchstones of Buckner’s aesthetic are still there. “Kingdom” is the album’s most perfect moment, with Buckner’s voice leading a delicate but rapid brushed drumbeat and a simple, reverb-heavy guitar hook. This song anchors Meadow, but it’s just one of the many excellent moments on another indispensable Americana release from this unfairly unsung musician.
Label: http://www.mergerecords.com/“Town” MP3