CD Review of Meadow by Richard Buckner

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starstarstarstarno star Label: Merge
Released: 2006
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If Matthew Sweet and Tom Waits had a child (ew, gross) and raised him in Lubbock, TX (ew, gross again), it might sound like Richard Buckner. If said child was musically inclined, of course. Actually, a child borne from the loins of these two would probably just drool on itself all day. Like fathers like son? I’ve got to stop while I’m ahead.

Yeah, guys. There’s something special about this release. There is just enough twang to keep the haters at bay and there is enough rock to keep me listening. Shit, beyond listening, I’m really enjoying Meadow – his tenth release! Quick: name four bands that have had ten successful releases. Yeah, I can’t name any either. Honestly, I’m just getting turned on to Richard Buckner, so I can’t tell you if his previous releases are any good, but if they are anything like this release, I’m totally going to pillage the back catalog.

Meadow is stacked with great songs and you get the instant sensation that they would work perfectly in nearly any genre. It kicks off with a track called “Town.” With lyrics like, “Pretty destroyed / comin’ through / ‘sees your spin’ / around the room”, it’s easy to get a grasp of this guy right away. Right now I’m purposefully searching the record for a shit track, and I haven’t come up with one yet. There is a dark, whiskey soaked tinge to Richard’s vocal stylings that I just can’t shake. It’s so unique but not foreign in the least. It’s like Dwight Yoakam being taken over by a dark spirit or something. Like with all great records, if they’re truly great, they can’t be summed up by some wanker like me. I’m trying but I’m falling short. The last time I fell short, a midget was seriously injured. It’s tough being small.

So Meadow is Richard Buckner’s second release for Merge Records. Now, I’ll admit that I’m a geek when it comes to labels, but holy monkey shit, they are amazing. Merge is located in Chappell Hill, NC (not exactly the music capitol of the world, but it works) and is home to acts such as the Arcade Fire, M. Ward (who’s new record is also super awesome and I reviewed it at one point or another), Neutral Milk Hotel, the Magnetic Fields, etc. (Whither, Spoon? – Ed.) And that’s only glazing the surface. Wow, I just censored myself.

~Josh Preston