Video: Richard Buckner – “Still Looking For You”

MP3: Richard Buckner – “Traitor”
MP3: Richard Buckner – “Escape”

Nobody’s ever tried to deny that the music of longtime indie songwriter Richard Buckner is a little reminiscent of Townes Van Zandt.

As with Van Zandt, if you follow the lead of Buckner’s spare balladry, you’ll often find yourself weaving through the alleys of a dark mind, exploring tales of heartbreak and collapse. This Van Zandt cover, recorded two years ago at the Merge Records 20th Anniversary Festival, makes it plain. “Still Looking For You” feels like the doomed cowboy come back to life for a second go-round, which is appropriate enough for Buckner. According to Merge, completion of Buckner’s new album, Our Blood, was fraught with almost Townesean complications:

First, there was the score to a film that never happened. Then there was a brief brush with the law over a headless corpse in a burned-out car that had all eyes in Buckner’s small hometown in upstate New York turned toward him and his long-suffering truck. Shortly after a move to a safer, less popular corpse dumping ground, the death of his tape machine led to yet another reboot. After Richard called in pedal steel and percussion players and put new mixes on his laptop, his new “safer” place was burglarized. Goodbye, laptop.

Buckner says: “Eventually, the recording machine was resuscitated and some of the material was recovered. Cracks were patched. Parts were redundantly re-invented. Commas were moved. Insinuations were re-insinuated until the last percussive breaths of those final OCD utterances were expelled like the final heaves of bile, wept-out long after the climactic drama had faded to a somber, blurry moment of truth and voilà!, the record was done, or, let us be clear, abandoned like the charred shell of a car with a nice stereo.”

Richard Buckner on tour
August 17 – San Francisco, CA – Great American Music Hall
August 19 – Portland, OR – Bunk Bar
August 20 – Seattle, WA – The Triple Door
August 23 – Atlanta, GA – Smith’s Olde Bar
August 24 – Chapel Hill, NC – The Arts Center
August 25 РArlington, VA РIOTA Club & Caf̩
August 27 – Brooklyn, NY – The Bell House
August 28 – Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall

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