We had been hoping to film Hallelujah the Hills for some time, [...]
Twice the music had disappeared. Twice. We talked about this as we took the drive from Boston out to MASS MoCA to film a session with the inimitable Richard Buckner. So the story goes—Buckner worked on his latest album three times over. The first time his computer died, as did the music that was on it. And then another computer was stolen; one could imagine a world where the thief discovered the raw files of Richard Buckner’s unfinished album when he cracked open the laptop and returned the stolen goods immediately, understanding what precious cargo it carried. But we do not live in that world. Finally, a third effort yielded the completed album, Our Blood. So much effort—these songs that needed to be finished and given to us. We are all the better for the gift.
We thought about all of this as we drove through the mountains, down long stretches of empty highway and into the Berkshires. Buckner sang to us the length of the journey; he told us stories about love and regret. He spun tales of passion and betrayal. At some moments the music was stirring, at other times the quiet kept us still in our seats, taken for a few brief minutes into Buckner’s own vision.
When we arrived, our gracious hosts at MASS MoCA let us look around to find a good spot to film. We found one we thought would work—a dazzling installation piece filled with broken mirrors and musical instruments. We envisioned Richard standing amongst the shards of glass, reflected every which way. But he was already set up right on the stage, and so, with his amp plugged in, we instead filmed him against the dark backdrop, alone with no fancy blandishments. And afterward, we were glad that we filmed there, as it allowed us to focus simply on the artist and his work.
We are so happy to be able to bring you not only our usual three song set, but a bonus version of Willow, which Buckner released as a special 7” on Record Store Day. We hope you enjoy the music as much as we did recording it.
Buckner will be here in Boston this weekend, stopping by Radio Sunday the 15th. Do yourself a favor and go see him live, performing songs off one of our favorite albums of last year.
First up, Loaded in the Wrong Door:
And finally, Willow: