Since coming to the realization that aside from family and loved ones, music was the most important part of my life, if I think of the five artists most responsible for fueling this passion, Richard Buckner would certainly make that group. I remember hearing his first record, "Bloomed", for the first time and thinking that I'd stumbled upon one of the greatest and purest songwriters of all-time. When people drew comparisons to Townes Van Zandt and Steve Earle, I'd argue that Buckner was better.
He followed up "Bloomed" by creating one of the greatest trifectas ever, with the release of "Devotion & Doubt" and "Since". If the American public was *truly* interested in good music, these three records alone would have landed Buckner in the same camp as Elliott Smith, despite having more songwriting ability.
After these three records, you could sense that Buckner was losing a little inspiration. "The Hill" was strong, but based on the Spoon River Anthology and not really Buckner's own work. His next few records made it clear that Buckner had lost the fire. That is, until his final record, "Meadow". "Meadow" was a return-to-form and once again punctured my musical soul.
Today I found out that Buckner's career in music may be over. He has relocated to upstate New York and plans on taking a different direction in life. This is the first time that one of the artists who's shaped not only my passions, but my life, may no longer be creating art. And this is heartbreaking.
When I clicked on the below link and made it through the article, my heart sank. For the first time in a few years, I felt tears on the way. You see, Richard Buckner's music has meant the world to me. Many of my closest friends also love Buckner, and we've spent *countless* hours dissecting his lyrics, sharing mixes and fawning over his beautiful music. I can recall driving from Central Pennsylvania to Northern New Jersey and listening to "Devotion & Doubt" over and over. It was about a three-hour drive and I only listened to this one record. One of my closest friends once made me a mix simply called "Gauzy Dress in the Sun" after the classic Buckner song. I listened to this mix almost every day in 1997 or so. It was my "bus ride to work" mix.
Of the 2000+ records I own, Richard Buckner's "Devotion & Doubt" may be the best record I own . If he's truly throwing in the towel on music, I will remember him for much more than his music. He's been a part of my life for more than a decade.
Reaching away goodbye rye,
Been bled on down the road,
But when the buzz was over,
Man, it was getting cold
I took the above photo at The Mercury Lounge, NYC, sometime around 2003