Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Richard Buckner does nothing if he isn't feeling it. He's totaled by what he feels. It's bone-chilling how touching the songs that he strums out with his thick fingers and sings out with eyes squinted shut and his barrel chest moving in and out in its slow symphony, with his dark and melancholy words.
You can imagine Buckner staggering slowly across a field or a lawn on a seasonably cold morning -- his feet catching some of the grass's cold, wet dew - with his head bowed and his hands shoved deep into his front pockets, deep in thought. And this has gone on for decades, still entrenched in the broken chances of his life and the absent second glances into the past that make everything feel as if it were laced with a vacant stare and the sorrow of a widower. There are many images of those who are waiting, those who are growing older and those who are sleeping alone and it's not at all what they want as they're pining for someone they used to share the night with long ago, but he reminds us often, when he says it or doesn't, that "we're all just strangers in the end."
The aches that Buckner sings about are those that are so clean and so genuinely affecting that they never feel rushed, but paced into a hypnotic stroll that gets spun into cobwebs. It's as if he's patiently waiting for the fires to die on their own, without any prodding or any splashing water. It's the natural exhaustion of energy to a state that's just lying still in its own aftermath. The cues have been killed and the times have been lost to a troubled dizziness of unwanted abandonment. He sings, "Honey, are you ready for the fade?/Wait just a little while," and the wait continues and continues until we're all just sick with mournful anxiety and feel all the bees, just as Buckner does. It's his lullaby and ours.
Richard Buckner Official Site