Richard Buckner’s one and only date in Italy (amazingly, his first ever concert in the country) is at the relatively modest Bronson Club in Ravenna.
He is backed by Sacri Cuori, a three-piece band from Emilia-Romagna – the location of this group explains the choice of venue. The band’s leader - guitarist, Antonio Gramentieri – has been active in the region for a number of years, mainly at nearby Faenza with promoters Strade Blu. He has helped bring some class acts to the music starved region, mostly within the folk/alt.country genres – names such as Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Howe Gelb, Devendra Banhart, Antony & The Johnsons, Steve Earle.
Sacri Cuori’s half hour support slot shows that they have picked up some pointers from such artists – their desert twang instrumentals would be well suited to a dusty American road movie. It’s a style that fits in well with Buckner whose past collaborations include a couple of albums with Giant Sand /Calexico’s Joey Burns and John Convertino.
Despite an unbroken run of superb albums from his 1994 debut Bloomed to this year’s Our Blood, Buckner still has cult status (i.e. too few fans). As a result there were only about 100 punters a Ravenna making for zero atmosphere.
Buckner and band seem unfazed by this and blaze through a set list which includes the first seven tracks from Our Blood played in sequence interspersed with other selections from his impressive back catalogue. Continue reading
I’ve never seen Richard Buckner in the flesh but from photos he always looks like someone not entirely at ease in his own body. Author, David Foster Wallace gave me the same impression.
This would account for the dark, introspective qualities of Buckner’s songs I have always found so affecting.
He ‘s back with a new album after an unplanned delay of nearly six years. The record is called Our Blood and is already out on Merge Records.
In the UK, it is due out at the end of September on Decor records, a London based record label, management company and European booking agency. Not that you’d know this from their website as his name only comes up as a small news item and he has not yet been added to their artist list.
Don’t they realise what a quality act they have on their books? Also, why should there be such a gap between the US and European release dates? Someone, somewhere needs to pull their finger out.
Buckner himself must be resigned to indifference, despite the brilliance of his back catalogue he remains a cult figure who has to finance his music by taking on short term construction work. In a recent interview, he takes a philosophical view about this state of affairs. Of his fellow workers, he says: “Most people in this world don’t have an easy way to get out of these situations; they move from one hamster wheel to the next hamster wheel. I have this other life that I can go back to and take me away from that”.
He is due to do some UK dates in November, hopefully he’ll also come to Italy. You can read my glowing review of his album on Whisperin’ & Hollerin’ here.
A quickie post to give a link to a link to a blog from southwest Virgina I stumbled upon yesterday called A Truer Sound .
The name that made me sit up and take notice was Richard Buckner who has made some classic, and seriously undervalued, alt.country albums .
His top three releases, IMHO, are:
Devotion And Doubt (1997)
The Hill (2000)
The latter was one of my first reviews for Whisperin’ and Hollerin’ which, if you’re interested, you can read here.
The mp3s for download are live tracks from 1996 and, from the couple of tracks I’ve heard so far, they are good quality recordings.
Whoever put this package together has approached the task with love and dedication. The zip file comes complete with specially designed cover art.
Strongly recommended for fans of heartfelt twang.
On the same blog, there’s also a mixtape of the author’s favourite tracks of 2010 which are also well worth downloading.