The strange Sam Buck–Jackie Leven connection

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Sam Buck might have been pidgeon-holed as bro-country, but please forget that. Or, well, there are certainly more than traces left on his new 6 song E.P. “Bordeline”, but that only makes it weirder and better – because this certainly is some strange beast of a gay record. Yes, I forgot to mention that part – the actual pidgeon-hole genre is ‘gay bro-country’.

Which of course makes it conceptually better.

But what makes ‘Borderline’ so good – for me – is that as soon as I here that voice, and that phrasing, and those raw lyrics and big, long, howling melodies, I think of… Jackie Leven and Doll By Doll.

There’s no chance in hell Sam Buck ever listened to Doll By Doll. He usually name-drops Miranda Lambert and Thomas Rhett as influences (and throws in the odd Anohni reference). But then he drags in these occasional, messy electronics in the production, some ugly 80’s synth jabbing (it actually reminds me of Tony Visconti’s strange decision to bring in Jesse Harms’ AOR synths on John Hiatt’s ‘All of a Sudden’ in -82), and it all comes out so urgingly honest and beautiful, so relevant, on a messed up existential level… just like Jackie Leven used to do.

(His Bandcamp starts auto-playing track 4, but I suggest you take it from the top, for the maximum Jackie Leven experience.)

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