BUCK MEEK – ” Two Saviors “

Posted: October 6, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: , ,
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Big Thief’s Buck Meek releases his new solo album, “Two Saviors”, on Keeled Scales. While his last album, 2018’s Buck Meek, is a yarn of blue-collar fairy tales and character driven narratives, Two Saviors emerges as a cathartic, naked confession of heartbreak, resiliency, and enchantment. The first word on Two Saviors is “pareidolia.” It is a word about recognising shapes where none were intended to exist – like searching for images in the clouds. It’s an uncommon word, with a beautiful sound, and serves as an apt guide through these new songs of Buck’s, which are themselves uncommon and beautiful, and which invite a deep, cloud-gaze state of attention.

Two Saviors was recorded by producer and engineer Andrew Sarlo (who produced the first four Big Thief LPs), under his specific conditions: they make the album in New Orleans, during the hottest part of the year, spend no more than 7 days tracking, all live, on an 8-track tape machine with only dynamic microphones, and no headphones, not allowing the players to hear back any takes until the final day. The band, featuring Adam Brisbin (guitar), Mat Davidson (bass, pedal steel, fiddle), Austin Vaughn (drums), and Buck’s brother Dylan Meek (piano, organ), set up in a Victorian house one block from the Mississippi River and worked within these limitations, encouraging every recording to be imbued with the living, intuitive, and human energy of a first take.

I wrote a handful of songs during the covid-19 lockdown, and asked Andrew Sarlo to produce a recording of one. “Roll Back Your Clocks” felt most appropriate. Andrew prompted me to record the song at home with an acoustic guitar, and send that solo version to each of my four band members separately. Then we overdubbed instrumental parts and vocals on top of my solo recording, without hearing any of the other band member’s contributions – with no outside direction or insight, and sent their stems to Sarlo, who took the parts and alchemized them into a mix, revealing a serendipitous union. This era has presented every human on earth with the challenge to relinquish all expectations and bend with the fragility of life and society. “Halo Light” is a gently rumbling rumination on “the afterglow of loss, humanity’s ephemera, and the eternal nature of love.”

All we are left with is ourselves, and our own capacity to find peace within. This was an attempt to embrace the quarantine – to try to make something beautiful and honest and new without denying the limitations, but to move within them. It was a reminder to trust our telepathic instincts, and to value the connection with our loved ones as something that we always have access to, even in solitude,

Big Thief guitarist Buck Meek returns with Two Saviors, his second solo record. Backed by a band featuring pedal steel, fiddle, and his brother Dylan on piano and organ, Meek takes a look at heartbreak and expands on the loose, easy going twang of his 2018 self-titled debut. The songs on this album shine with this wisdom and are not ostentatious about it. This is true to Buck’s nature. He is recording life, consciously and unconsciously on a broad spectrum of planes. A new album from him is a gift, a chance to wonder about ways we could be seeing, recording.

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