Richard Buckner - Devotion And Doubt
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Richard Buckner
Devotion And Doubt
(MCA)

The first time I listened to this disc, I skimmed over the first 15 seconds of each track or so and wrote it off as some sort of pseudo country album. The cover was the first thing that entranced me, but for some reason it sounded like the stuff my babysitter (I still have a bad aversion to country because of it) used to listen to when I was younger. The strangest thing happened only about a year and a half later when I gave it a second chance, though.

Instead of cringing at the proliferation of slide guitars and southern-sounding inflection on Buckners voice, I realized that the album ran a lot deeper than I had originally heard. Maybe I was getting old (going on 25 now), or maybe it was in fact one of those albums that simply doesn't really hit you until the second time around.

One of the main reasons this album runs so much deeper than most country I've heard is because of the variety of instrumentation, and the quality of it present. Buckner is an ace guitar player, and he does plenty of nice strumming on the acoustic over the course of the disc. Whether it's the stripped-down "Ed's Song" with only voice and guitar, or the piano-sprinkled, "Pull," For some (myself included), the one thing that may take some getting used to are the vocals. As I mentioned above, there is quite a bit of twang in his voice on most songs, but instead of being annoying, it really is more emotive than many I've heard. He's not afraid of showcasing it, either, as in the a cappella track, "Fater." The mood across the board on the album is fairly slow and moody, but I'm not sure it would work very well much of any other way.

If you're into the alt-country sort of stuff, and don't mind things being a bit dreary. It's interesting lyrically, musically, and vocally and has really nice package design to boot (if you're into that sort of thing). Plus, there isn't one song about losing a dog or pickup truck.

rating: 7.510
Aaron Coleman 2003-06-19 00:00:00