Richard Buckner CD review [Merge]



Music Reviews
Richard Buckner CD review [Merge]
By
Oct 12, 2004, 19:25

RICHARD BUCKNER Dents and Shells CD

Self-styled nomad Richard Buckner's personal and professional life has ridden a series of highs and lows that include a couple of divorces, a major label deal only to be dropped, a car commercial, and a comeback. Buckner seemed to be headed for greatness when he was embraced by Spin in 1995 and found his brilliant debut Bloomed at the top of several critics' lists, which was well before alt-country had even hit its stride. The attention led to a major label deal and Buckner released a couple of great records before getting booted because MCA had no clue how to promote him. Running from anything remotely major label, Buckner recorded The Hill; lyrics lifted from Edgar Lee Masters' poetry collection Spoon River Anthology. The Hill wasn't as well received as previous work and Buckner found long time supporters starting to question his direction. A few unmemorable records followed and people began to wonder if the bullshit had taken its toll. The recipe that combined stories of heartbreak, loss, and sorrow with Buckner's powerful baritone voice recorded with honest, passionate anguish seemed to be gone. It sounded as if Buckner had gone hollow.

Dents and Shells easily lays that notion to rest and finds Buckner at his best. Returning to form, Buckner has found what made him such a memorable artist in the first place and that's his ability to write and deliver a song that captures the fates and failures of life and love well enough to feel that he's been reading your mail. Because of this, he immediately puts you at ease as if you're trying on an old friend. Granted, it's an old friend in need of a large dose of Prozac but it's comfortable nonetheless. This is Buckner's gift and when he's on there aren't many who can come close. [Merge]

-Troy Brookins

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