Published Jul 23, 2011As a singer-songwriter whose work has always been infused with darkness and intrigue, it seemed a cruel irony that one of the reasons for Richard Buckner's hiatus since 2006's Meadow was due to him being a prime suspect in a murder case near his current home in upstate New York. The other reason for Our Blood's delay was that he had to re-record the album several times because of computer failures and other extraneous circumstances. Surprisingly, those struggles and frustrations don't manifest themselves on Our Blood, which finds Buckner weaving his familiar strands of minor-key acoustic melodies together with hints of strings, electric piano and ambient sounds. The end result is a subtle, yet engrossing, nine-song cycle that touches upon a wide range of primal human emotions. The one-word titles say it all: "Escape," "Collusion," "Confession," "Hindsight." At one point during Buckner's late '90s fertile period he was poised to become one of alt-country's leading voices. However, his tireless introspection made him an enigma and Our Blood is further proof that maintaining his vision in the face of constantly changing trends has been the right course. It's great to have him back.
What has kept you going throughout these past five years?
The usual excuse is: if you give up, you'll sink. Also, I was working various jobs in the area while I wasn't touring. The jobs changed every few months, so I was always the new guy. I figured there that at some point I would find a way to get back to my real work and move on.
I can't imagine how terrifying it is to be a murder suspect. How has that affected your life since?
In the big picture, it was another confirmation of things that I'd thought about over the years concerning the justice system and the confusing, bureaucratic ways in the U.S. But, on the personal front, when you're sitting in a locked-door, cinder-block room in the basement of a small-town police station being questioned about something so strange and horrible, even innocence doesn't save you from intimidation.
What is it about these songs that made you stick with them?
Well, in fact, I was stuck; it was like being caught in an avalanche. As soon as I finally finished the recording, mixing and artwork though, things started slowly coming back. I've already started writing again and have a few other projects in mind. It was just overload and deprivation, hand-in-hand. (Merge)