Ballroom Marfa presented American singer-songwriter and guitarist Richard Buckner at Liberty Hall on April 1, 2007, as part of Ballroom Marfa’s 2007 music series.
Appearing with Buckner for his Liberty Hall appearance will be Ohio’s epic instrumentalists Six Parts Seven. An accomplished indie-rock group with several albums of intricate, twangy arrangements to their name, Six Parts Seven performed an opening set of their own material and provided the backing music for Buckner.
Buckner was raised in California’s Central Valley, his musical development taking shape with stints in Atlanta and later in the alternative country hotbed of the early ‘90s Bay Area. It’s the Texas wing of singer-songwriters, though, that’s most frequently cited in reference to Buckner’s recordings. Perhaps then it was inevitable that he would leave the Doubters, his San Francisco country-rock group, and make the journey to Lubbock to record his first solo album. 1994’s Bloomed, a suite of songs produced by area legend Lloyd Maines, earned Buckner substantial critical notice, his ambitiously poetic lyrics, mournful voice, and earthy acoustic style inviting comparisons to Texas cult favorites like Butch Hancock, Terry Allen, and Townes Van Zandt.
Seven full-length albums of Buckner’s literate and darkly personal songwriting have followed. Cross-country adventures and lack of mainstream support notwithstanding, Buckner’s creative energy for songwriting remains as steadfast as the small, if passionate, contingent of alternative music fans who savor his every line. His albums in recent years, including 2006’s Meadow (on Merge Records), have continued a transition from spare country instrumentation to a more electrified, indie-rock production style.
It’s impossible to discuss Buckner as an artist without also discussing his reputation as an incorrigible nomad. Buckner helps evoke the mystique of desolate spaces and imagery with his lyrics; the loner reality of his lifestyle is part of that ethos. Buckner has truly made a life of grueling tours and perpetual wanderlust.