Richard Buckner - Meadow (Merge, 2006)

September 20th, 2006

By Andrew Frisicano

You learn a lot driving across America. At least that’s what we believe. Post-Kerouac, the drive for manifest destiny transformed (for the sane) into a drive for self-discovery, found only after a supposedly unique experience surveying the barely populated rural expanses and grimy crime-ridden urban centers of “America the Beautiful.” The myth arrogantly proposes an equal exchange between understanding and tourism: that momentary witness is enough to imbue a lifetime of understanding, a lasting salvation from the mundanity of New England or California or the Mid-West.

On Meadow, Richard Buckner doesn’t make claims to conquest or salvation. The fractured phrases of Buckner’s baritone immerse us in swirling poetry that flows through scenarios of heartbreak, regret, loss, and, sometimes, hope. The stories are rarely explicit, Buckner rarely finishes a sentence, instead painting circles of dense emotion illuminated by melodic phrasing and twisted syntax.

Richard Buckner consistently rises above his “alt-country” tag, delving honestly into the nuances of relationships with painful accuracy. These songs are where Richard Buckner exorcises the guilt, frailty and endless failure of all humans, especially himself. Richard Buckner reads his script and eats the apple every time. And when he drives by a diner called the Second Chance he knows, there are no second chances — only in music.

Whaling Wall Matthew Farrell
Chow Feng Shui Josh Elmer
Stained Glass Ceiling Emily McNeill
Anarchitect Mike Berlin
SaHarrison Desert Harrison Flatau
Metrolollipopolis Jennifer Konerman
Tropic of Scurvy Heather Newberger
Copy Editors Danielle Sherwood
  Jenna Scatena
  Elliott Feedore
Adviser Mary Beth O’Connor
Chief Residents Abby Bertumen
  Kelly Burdick
  Bryan Chambala
  Sam Costello
  Cole Louison
  James Sigman

Buzzsaw Haircut is funded by the Ithaca College Student Government Association, the Park School of Communications and a generous grant from Campus Progress.

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Front cover and back cover of print edition by Jake I. Forney.
Section dividers of print edition by Jake I. Forney and Justin Lubliner.