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.