Limited vinyl LP pressing of this 2000 album. On the 100th anniversary of Edgar Lee Masters' Spoon River Anthology, Merge is reissuing the epic it inspired: Richard Buckner's The Hill. The Hill started in 1996 in an old garage that had been converted to The Ranch Olancha Motel, a dusty place near the mouth of Death Valley, between Lone Pine and Dunmovin, California. Buckner, who was en route to Tucson, Arizona, to record what would become Devotion & Doubt, stayed a week in a room with no phone, no television, carrying his guitar, a four-track recorder, and a copy of Masters' Spoon River Anthology. He tinkered with a few of the book's poems, put them on a cassette, and forgot about it until an acquaintance discovered it in his truck four years later. Beset with writer's block and looking for a distraction, Buckner would find in the tape the spur he needed. Recorded in Edmonton, Alberta, and Tucson, The Hill converts Spoon River poems to music. You'd wonder why a poet in his own right would feel the need to sample another's work. But Masters' book of poetry tells much the same story Buckner is accustomed to, the kind of story that makes him distinct among Americana storytellers. Americana as a genre often offers a sense that it's creators have lived through their body of work. No matter the story form, you often believe (or are plainly told) that what you're hearing or reading or seeing has been informed by their life experiences. They have a personal history to tell, where even if the story is fiction, the emotion was theirs to feel. Buckner is more objective. He's a visitor, a watcher. A traveler who disappears into the world and returns to us with it's story, not his. Backed by Calexico's Joey Burns and John Convertino and surveyed with Buckner's unflagging vocal desperation, Spoon River's residents come back to life. Like so much of his career, Buckner disappeared into Spoon River and returns to us with it's story.
William + Emily
Each record is protected within its record sleeve by a white vellum anti-dust sleeve.
All items are shipped brand-new and unopened in original packaging. Every record is shipped in original factory-applied shrink wrap and has never been touched by human hands.