This is the eighth full length from this somber and obviously prolific folk-rock-country-whatever singer/songwriter, and I have to say it is probably my favorite release from him and his band of musicians. While it doesn't have the readymade Calexico sound that "Devotion and Doubt" did, this has something more emphatic in its sound, something more emotionally charged (if that is possibly with Buckner's abnormally reserved vocal delivery). "Meadow" is one of my favorite rock records of the year, mixing the simplest of ingredients (guitar, drums, bass, keys, and voice) into a far more complex and interesting sound than I thought possible.
The track, "Window", hidden fairly late in the record, is the perfect example of this restraint and maturity of songwriting, without seeming tired, old, or recycled. It begins with urgent guitar strumming and just keeps building and building, only to crash on the rocks with gentle Rhodes notes. Then it's off to the races again for an equally bracing ending. My words really aren't doing it any justice, but this album pretty much combines all those warm feelings you had about Tom Petty or Steve Earle or Townes Van Zandt and filters it through the worlds of Calexico, M. Ward, and Guided By Voices, creating what will inevitably be the classic rock of the future.
Richard Buckner's "Meadow" is pure and timeless gold, free of distracting gimmick or artifice that might stamp a time period on its' sound. His voice is somewhat of an acquired taste, but nowhere near as "out-there" as contemporaries Vic Chesnutt or Kurt Wagner. His band is impeccable, featuring guys from Guided by Voices, The Mekons, and the Dambuilders, representing some of the best music found in tiny dark bars in Tennessee, as well as stadiums worldwide. This is music that is both classic and fresh, reserved yet challenging.
- Grant Capes | 2006-10-04