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The road brings alt-country legend Richard Buckner to Buffalo

Richard Buckner is a man of mystery.

blog by Ben Kirst  • 

There is a romantic figure in our collective imaginations, an image that dates back to the earliest days of our country that has evolved over time and distance: the solitary man whose rugged freedom and guileless self-knowledge are counterbalanced by a troubled sense of emptiness and loss. The frontiersman, the pioneer, the railroad tramp, the hitchhiker, the folk singer—tough people with tough lives whose flaws are smoothed away as burdens they were destined to carry. And they entertain us, too—they become stock characters in our popular culture and we dream of the lonesome life on the road as though it were a career aspiration.

Richard Buckner fits this bill. The difference, however, is that he’s not the invention of a writer or director. He’s a real person, a solid foundation of the alt-country movement that has grown steadily in the United States over the past two decades, and he’s coming to Buffalo to perform an all-ages show on Wednesday, May 22 at 8 p.m. at Waiting Room (334 Delaware Ave., Buffalo). Tickets are $12 and are available online.

Buckner, a Brooklyn resident by way of Edmonton, is touring in anticipation of his new album, Surrounded, slated to be released later this year. He’s had a hell of a rough run over the past few years—he was a suspect in a murder investigation, he quit music, he drove a forklift (which isn’t so bad in and of itself, but when a fine musician has to shuffle pallets for a living—you get it), he’s had albums’ worth of music lost via laptop issues (a lesson to utilize the cloud, everyone) and suffered through the agony of recording equipment failure—but he’s managed to bring it back around to the music once again.

Why? Well, because it’s all he really cares about, in the grand scheme of things.

”There’s no ‘worth-it’ to keep in mind,” he told The Waterloo (Ont.) Record last week. “It’s like an involuntary way of thinking; about keeping ideas flowing enough to make me want to wake up in the morning. I saw a great doc a few nights ago about Levon Helm entitled Ain’t In It For My Health. That about sums it up. I have no other hobbies.”

And he’s good at it. His previous album, Our Blood, earned an 8.0 rating (out of 10) on the notoriously fickle Pitchfork.com that praised his “elliptical, impressionistic writing style” and noted that “...Buckner’s voice feels experienced and empathetic, then, like a knowing pat on the back from a parent or an old friend that recognizes weakness yet pushes you ahead.”

For more about Richard Buckner, visit his website, RichardBuckner.com.


TAGGED: alternative country, concerts, live performances, living legend, richard buckner, singer-songwriter, waiting room

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