Meadow

His air is somber, his words obtuse, and his arrangements formless, yet there’s something irresistible about the nomadic malcontent RICHARD BUCKNER. Buckner sings as though he’s trying to explain something to you without being overheard; his focus is laserlike. He’s no slave to structure either: His songs, like him, make a lot of unexpected moves. Buckner’s not a Texan (he hails from the West Coast), but his debut was on a San Marcos label, and his breakthrough second album, Devotion + Doubt, was produced by former True Believer JD Foster. So no one was surprised when he rolled into Austin a couple years back. Now in Brooklyn, he has reunited with Foster for MEADOW (Merge), a set of edgy yet intimate recordings (“Recorded by JD Foster at his place, Richard’s place and another place” read the credits). No one would call Buckner happy-go-lucky, but his plaintive voice makes the material sadder than intended. Or so it seems. Full of ruminations on turning his back and walking away from life’s travails, Buckner seems in search of something out of his reach. Until he finds it, these travelogues will do just fine.

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