The music of Richard Buckner

By Hiram Lee
4 August 2007

On July 23, singer-songwriter Richard Buckner gave a remarkable performance at The Dame in Lexington, Kentucky. Buckner, who has amassed a relatively small but dedicated following over the past decade, drew a surprisingly large crowd for a concert that began late on a Monday evening and lasted until one o’clock the next morning. Joining him on the bill were Cartright, These United States and Six Parts Seven, a group performing slow, meditative instrumental music. Six Parts Seven also served as Buckner’s backing band, transforming themselves into an impressive country-rock outfit in the process.

Buckner’s work is rooted in the tradition of “old-time” music, a catch-all phrase typically used to describe pre-war folk or country music such as that collected by Harry Smith in his famous Anthology of American Folk Music released on the Folkways record label. But Buckner is by no means a nostalgic musician content to copy the trends of the past. He has built on these traditional foundations over the course of his career incorporating rock and other contemporary styles, always reinventing himself and defying popular opinion in regard to what can or should be done in a given musical genre.

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