Last Night: Richard Buckner | Rock Candy

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Last Night: Richard Buckner

Posted By on Thu, May 7, 2009 at 3:08 PM


Richard Buckner
Vino's, May 6

When I interviewed Richard Buckner last week, I asked if he was brining a band for his show last night at Vino’s, and he answered, half-defensively, “I’m coming alone, but I’m bringing five guitars!”

He had three, but with nine effects pedals, an EBow* and a voice as weird and rich and harrowing as anything off the Harry Smith Anthology, he had no trouble commanding the room. In fact, the small-ish crowd — maybe 50 or so — sat rapt throughout. Bar chatter got shushed down before it really started. A lot of folks around me sat on the edges of their seats (yep, seats at Vino’s), utterly transfixed.

It wasn’t hard to get lost in the music. Once Buckner, tall and thicker than year’s past, with neck-length long hair, took his chair onstage and picked up a guitar, he didn’t speak or pause until he finished his set. When needed, to ease a transition, he’d play a quick instrumental passage. Before he switched guitars, he’d capture a run or some Ebowed dissonance in a loop and, like magic, sustain the music hands free.

He played a little of all of his eight albums, rarely mimicking their treatment on record. He opened with a gnarled, but tender version of “Blue and Wonder,” one of his finest and probably most beloved, that snuffed out just about all the song’s brightness and hope; made it more of a lament. Songs from “The Hill,” his album inspired by Edgar Lee Masters “Spoon River Anthology” (a book of small town epitaphs as poetry), sounded even more like you’d think making sense of life from death should — dark and dissonant.

That said, and even though he spent two hours mostly with eyes downcast, just slits showing, it didn’t strike me as a particularly dour affair. At the risk of wading into hyperbole, “transcendent” seems a better fit. I’m having a hard time remembering a performer, with such vocal and instrumental command, who so obviously believed in his words and their power.

*A magical, battery-operated handheld device that generates an electromagnetic field that moves strings. Peter Buck used one a lot on "Monster."

Sign up for the Daily Update email


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Lindsey Millar

Readers also liked…

  • Coming Monday: Little Rock Black Restaurant Week

    MoTown Monday is Ceci's Chicken and Waffles. Tasty Tuesday is Sims BBQ and Brewster's Soul Food Cafe. Wing Wednesday is Chicken King and Chicken Wangs. Soul Food Thursday is Lindsey's BBQ and Hospitality House and Food Truck Festival Friday is @station801. It's the first Black Restaurant Week.
    • Mar 8, 2017
  • New music from Isaac Alexander

    New music from Isaac Alexander.
    • Jul 14, 2017
  • No Small Talk Ep. 8: Katy Henriksen, Springs Arts preview

    A packed episode this week of "No Small Talk": a chat with Katy Henriksen, from Of Note on KUAF; Stephanie Smittle breaks down the Spring Arts issue; and we finish up with just a tiny bit of Oscar chatter.
    • Mar 9, 2018

Most Recent Comments


© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation