Richard Buckner (musician)

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Richard Buckner
Richard Buckner in Austin (cropped).jpg
Buckner in Austin, 2006
Background information
BornCalifornia, U.S.
Genres Alt-Country
Labels Rykodisc Records [1]
Slow River Records
Merge Records
Website Official website

Richard Buckner is an American singer-songwriter born in California, United States. After living in Edmonton, Alberta, for a number of years, he relocated to Brooklyn, New York.



Buckner's solo career began with Bloomed (1994), a lyrically dense suite of songs recorded in Lubbock, Texas and produced by Lloyd Maines. It was released when Buckner was the frontman of the band The Doubters, which was not achieving very much success at the time. [2] In January 1996, while living in San Francisco, he recorded an album's worth of acoustic songs, all of which reappeared in more fully realized forms on his second and third albums. The CD was self-produced and self-released, and was sold exclusively at his early shows.

Later that year, he signed with MCA Records, for whom he recorded two albums, both produced by J.D. Foster. Devotion + Doubt was released in 1997, displaying a more adventurous, almost avant-garde approach to songwriting and arranging, and featuring backing from members of the band Giant Sand, as well as Maines and Marc Ribot, among others. Its follow-up, 1998's Since, continues in this style, with an even greater emphasis on detailed production, this time featuring contributions from John McEntire, Dave Schramm, David Grubbs, Syd Straw, and others. Although these albums garnered considerable critical approval for Buckner, they did not perform well enough for his label, and he was released from his contract with MCA Records (whom he then nicknamed 'Musical Career Assassins') shortly thereafter. [3]

His 2000 album, The Hill, was released by Overcoat Recordings and features poems from Edgar Lee Masters' Spoon River Anthology , which Buckner set to music. He returned in 2002, first with the EP Impasse-ette, then a full-length entitled Impasse one month later. In early 2003, his self-released, self-titled album was reissued by Overcoat, his final release for the label. In 2004, an edited version of Buckner's song "Ariel Ramirez", from the album Since (1998) was featured in a television ad for the Volkswagen Touareg. The song, in its original form, was also featured in the 2008 horror film, The Strangers . [4]

He is currently aligned with the North Carolina-based indie label Merge Records, who released 2004's Dents and Shells and 2006's Meadow. Between the two, he released an album with Jon Langford called Sir Dark Invader vs. The Fanglord (2005, originally recorded in Sally Timms's house in 2002) on Buried Treasure Records. Merge Records released Buckner's album Our Blood on August 2, 2011. [5] The album was licensed in Europe and Oceania to Decor records. [6]

Buckner latest album, Surrounded , was released in 2013 by Merge Records. [7]

Buckner has been cited as an inspiration by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver. [8] In an interview, Vernon stated that 22, A Million was dedicated to Buckner and Bernice Johnson Reagon. [9]


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  1. "Richard Buckner photographs". Archived from the original on October 27, 2009. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
  2. Howe, Brian (March 30, 2009). "Richard Buckner: Bloomed / The Hill / Impasse Album Review". Pitchfork. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  3. "Richard Buckner's 'Since'". NPR. September 2, 1998. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
  4. Thompson, Stephen (July 24, 2011). "First Listen: Richard Buckner, 'Our Blood'". NPR. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
  5. "Merge Records Store". May 18, 2011. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
  6. "Richard Buckner Preservation Society". Retrieved October 1, 2013.
  7. Fred Thomas (September 3, 2013). "Surrounded – Richard Buckner | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
  8. "Bon Iver Reveals the Secrets of New Album 22, A Million at Eau Claire Press Conference". Pitchfork. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  9. "Bon Iver Held a Press Conference, Here's Everything You Need to Know • Howl & Echoes". Howl & Echoes. September 4, 2016. Retrieved November 15, 2019.