Richard Buckner, Meadow

Richard Buckner, Meadow

Everything about this record screams “Chapel Hill, North Carolina.” The patchwork-quilt cover, the humbledy-mumbledy singer, the outdated production (smells like the ’90s), the quite-unknown-guy who has accolades from hipsters and kisses from awkward girls on college campuses, New York n’er-do-wells, Midwest mailorder record houses that proclaim his genius, and the west coast folk trying to find a pulse in a musical atmosphere that’s barely clinging to life. Somehow this coffeehouse messiah is something so huge, our lives would ever remain, increasingly, the same with or without this record.

There’s a homespun quality, though, an honesty (moany and clipped in its words) that’s here for those who’re hungry for it. Go ahead, have second, even third helpings; there’s plenty to go ’round. Pass the biscuits, please. “Town” introduces you to Mr. Buckner, first showing a glimpse of his finesse at the vocal vibrato technique. The melody is simple, not horrible but still quite forgettable. “Canyon” is a larger canvas for more prominent peacocking of the “vibrato.” The arrangements, instrumentation, and melody, however, all seem more cohesive and less fractured-sounding. By the third track, “Lucky,” the music’s beginning to sound a little “happy,” and a bit longing, too, but with more resolve — not so much achiness. There’s a styling of the voice that’s certainly here to stay by the fourth cut; a lilt, a wisp, a curlicue that flavors each track.

Imagine 10,000 Maniacs and protest songs from “up North,” flavored with a pinch — just a pinch — of Nashville and that guy at the place that sings on random Wednesday nights with the loneliness of a singer-songwriter, and voilá! — that’s Richard Buckner. And there’s plenty of those lonely feelings here for you, if that’s what you’re after. And if you’re after something completely non-sexy, non-threatening, and not too wild, that’s here, too. Safe for parents.

(Merge Records -- P.O. Box 1235, Chapel Hill, NC. 27514; http://www.mergerecords.com/; Richard Buckner -- http://www.richardbuckner.com/)
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Saturday, January 27th, 2007. Filed under Reviews.

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