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Richard Buckner, ‘Meadow’ (Merge)

Richard Buckner’s voice — a husky, quivering moan equal parts Dwight Yoakam, Nick Cave, and an agitated grizzly bear — deserves the spotlight it’s gotten on his dark country-folk albums. But on Meadow, it’s backed by a slicker, more confident band than in the past. The polished guitar lines of ex-Guided by Voices member Doug Gillard dance from nearly every tune, along with shimmering organs and rumbling percussion. The combination works: Buckner’s singular pipes and surrealistic lyrics tug the songs toward the esoteric, but the band pulls them back.

Now Hear This: Richard Buckner – “Town” DOWNLOAD MP3