Bloomed, released in 1994, was Richard Buckner’s first record, and his first great record. Unfortunately, it was released on an imprint of an unsympathetic major label that gave Buckner very little support in terms of promoting the record, leaving it to languish and die.
Twenty years later, Buckner, since bounced from the major-label circuit after a two-record stint with MCA, calls vaunted North Carolina indie label Merge home. In March, Merge reissues Bloomed as the third record of its Merge 25 series, which celebrates Merge’s 25th anniversary. (The first two: Lambchop’s Nixon and Superchunk’s Indoor Living, two of Merge’s finest releases.) The album will be remastered and released on CD and 180-gram vinyl. Both formats will include a bonus disc featuring radio sessions, live performances and original recordings of songs that appeared on future releases.
It’s the second time Bloomed has been reissued; Rykodisc re-released it in 1999.
In other Buckner news, the songwriter is soliciting dates for his series of living room shows, which wraps up its first run in Arizona next week.
“Basically, I’ll pull up to your house with an acoustic guitar, find a spot inside where I won’t knock anything over and play all of the hits that made me the hundredaire that I am today,” Buckner writes on his website. “The location of the shows is only known to those who purchase tickets.”
If you have a living room large enough to house one of America’s greatest living songwriters, you can see if Buckner’s looking to play your town by checking undertowmusic.com. (If he is, and you live in the Carolinas, and you book him, and you don’t tell me, I hate you.)
After the jump, some notes from Buckner, via Merge, on Bloomed.
“Bloomed was originally (erroneously?) released on an unnamable German label in 1994. I was living in San Francisco at the time, having just moved out of a residential hotel and into the 1906 hilltop prefab that adorns the cover. At the time, I was heading a band called The Doubters. We were playing high profile events such as The Covered Wagon Saloon’s Musical Barstools, but weren’t making much headway. We had been turned down consistently every year by SXSW, but I was somehow finagled in as an unannounced guest onto an already unofficial SXSW showcase created by Butch Hancock at his gallery in downtown Austin. There, I met up again with Lloyd Maines, who agreed to produce my first record.
Maines and I met in Lubbock, TX, a few months later, where we worked with Lubbock musicians in a small recording studio walled in wooden shingles Sharpied with bible passages from various church groups that also enjoyed working there. It was 112°F the morning I arrived under the suspicious (Californians are merely B-grade yankees) gaze of downtown’s Buddy Holly statue. That first night there, it hailed so hard that heaven’s angry pellets were storming in under my motel door. It only let up for a few moments that first night, allowing me to run across the street to get a butter burger and fries to go. We finished four days later and I flew back to San Francisco, dismembered the band, and embarked on a tour that would last about 20 years (or a few days, if you count what I actually remember).
Nothing’s changed. I’m still dodging the sky and busking to strangers.”