by Robert Bell
In a better, more just world, Richard Buckner would be celebrated far and wide.
When he embarked on his sold-out tours, the mayors of mid-sized American cities would issue declarations proclaiming that whatever day it was would henceforth be known as "Richard Buckner Day." Also, in this world Jeff Tweedy would have recently gotten canned from his video store clerk job, his resume littered with dozens of other dead-end hellscapes from which he was fired for being more smug and self-satisfied than his meager, minimum-wage accomplishments could ever justify.
I suppose in reality, Buckner is appreciated well enough. After all, Volkswagen saw fit to use both his and Tweedy's tunes for car commercials. A spot for the 2009 Touareg featured Buckner's touching "Ariel Ramirez." That probably was beneficial in terms of helping Buckner's music reach new audiences.
But it's nonetheless baffling that he's not way more popular. His songs are consistently great and his singing is expressive and dynamic, in sharp contrast to the hordes of bearded, hushed troubadours out there mumbling about feelings and stuff. "Our Blood," Buckner's latest album and first in five years, has met with pretty much universal acclaim.