Listening

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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