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Richard Buckner

Richard Buckner is one of those songwriters who's not afraid to tear his bleeding, still-beating heart from his chest and hand it to you on a plate. Desperate, dire, and heartbreakingly personal, his fragile folk songs strike a powerfully authentic chord in an age when glitzy pop product seems more soulless than ever. While on occasion, Buckner has been known to plug in and rock in the now classic dirt-and-twang manner of Uncle Tupelo, for the most part he visits the stark, darkly understated territory of Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska and the early work of Townes Van Zandt to stunning, often emotionally challenging results. As with all the great singer-songwriters, Buckner's voice is unusual, memorable, and essential to his music's import: a deep brown warble that sounds as if it were fashioned from the same stuff as the earth itself, which somehow manages to infuse every word, every syllable the man utters with emotional freight.

The San Francisco musician released his first album, Bloomed, in 1994, but it wasn't until his 1998 album, the fragile, dustily evocative Since, that he achieved widespread notoriety. He went on to record the conceptual The Hill, on which he set the bleak poetry of Edgar Lee Masters to music, followed by a typically moody 2002 record titled Impasse. His thoughtful rendition of the Kris Kristofferson country standard "Lovin' Her Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again)" appears on Incidental's terrific Kristofferson tribute Nothing Left To Lose, which features contributions from an accomplished group of artists, including Califone, Deanna Varagona, The Radar Bros., Granfaloon Bus, Souled American, and many more.