Facebook, you do have your moments.
I would not have known about this show if I hadn’t seen in my feed that an FB friend was “interested” in it.
Singer-songwriter Richard Buckner is performing a solo acoustic show at Engine in Biddeford on Friday night. Although I’m a little crushed to miss this show because my dance card is already full with another one, I do hope that my Facebook buddy, Bob, is more than just interested and actually goes to the show — and that many of you do too, because Buckner is really something special.
In fact, get this, as I was writing this column, I ducked my head into Press Herald Managing Editor (and music aficionado) Steve Greenlee’s office to ask if he knew who Buckner was. Not only did he know him, he told me without hesitation that Buckner is his absolute favorite singer-songwriter.
It’s been years since I’ve seen Buckner live, but every once in a while I give his music a spin and am instantly reminded of how good he is. And my boss and I aren’t the only ones who think so. Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon dedicated his band’s new album “22, A Million” to Buckner and said that “Richard Buckner has 13 albums and every one of them is perfect.”
I am not familiar with all of these albums but have listened to enough Buckner to be able to state that he’s worth your time, even if you’ve never heard of him. A poetic lyricist and terrific singer, Buckner may not be a household name but to know him at all is to absolutely love his work.
For example, “Lil’ Wallet Picture” from 1997’s “Devotion + Doubt” is one of the most sublime songs of the past two decades. “Under spent and too young too/I stumbled onto a picture of you/You wild bitter tale/All cherry oak and tears as the branches look in.” There’s a pull in his voice that draws you in and makes you want to just stay put and listen. He’s one of those guys who could sing the list on the side of an ice-cream truck, and you’d be glad to hear it.
Listen to “Lil’ Wallet Picture”
Buckner’s most recent album is 2013’s “Surrounded,” which was unfamiliar to me until a few days ago. It was like picking up a conversation with an old friend you hadn’t seen in a while. There’s an intimacy and tenderness to his songs and, sometimes, a fiery passion.
Songs like “Portrait” and “Mood” are but two examples from “Surrounded.” Buckner inhabits the underbelly of Americana. It’s lit by lanterns and torches and you’ll hear well-worn acoustic guitar and cut-to-the-quick lyrics. Maybe hit Elements: Books Beer Coffee first, then head to Engine for an evening of songs by Buckner and Jarid del Deo.
Hats off to Engine for booking this show. By the way, if you can’t make it to Biddeford on Friday night and either live up the coast or are down for a road trip, Buckner will be at the Lompoc Cafe in Bar Harbor on Saturday night.