In Praise of Richard Buckner

I first learned about Richard Buck­ner in the late nineties. I’d joined the Pave­ment list­serv and when we weren’t argu­ing over which Pave­ment album was the worst (peo­ple hated BtC) we’d talk about all sorts of artists pop­u­lar at the time among the indie crowd. Richard Buck­ner was one of the names that got men­tioned often, so I bought a copy of Devo­tion + Doubt. I fell in love with it immediately.

I hadn’t lis­tened to it for quite some time, hav­ing checked out of alt-country or what­ever that was all those years ago. Then I read about Buckner’s strug­gles. and I revis­ited his work.

Devo­tion + Doubt is still a breath­tak­ing album. Buck­ner deserves the atten­tion that’s been lav­ished on Bon Iver. I can think of few albums that do so much with so lit­tle. The sparse arrange­ments leave ample room for Buckner’s expres­sive voice. The sto­ry­telling is great and he never lapses into the singer-songwriter trea­cle that dooms so many solo artists. It’s just the right mix of sen­ti­men­tal­ity and scorn.

If you haven’t heard Buck­ner before, check out this live video of Ed’s Song from Devo­tion + Doubt.

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