I’m constantly scrambling to keep up with much of the greatness coming out of my neighbor to the East, Massachusetts these days, and this new gem from Wes Buckley proves why I’ve got to keep the ears open. Buckley’s been rolling around the ranges for a while, releasing solo record on Whitehaus and Joshua Burckett’s Mystra Records. This time around he’s found his way onto the roster of Half A Million, the in-house label for North Adams shop Belltower Records, sharing roster space with fellow RSTB faves Taiwan Housing Project. Unlike his labelmates, Buckley’s not one for the ecstatic or explosive. Nah, none of that amp scorch here. His country blues skid the outskirts, finding shelf space next to a few of the latter day Wooden Wand records, Hans Chew, and D. Charles Speer.
While The Towering Ground has a sweetness to it, the levity is undercut by a wearied darkness. Isolation, disappointment, and desire lay a film over the album. Yet not matter the tone, it’s Buckley’s mahogany drawl that drives the record — a broken heart and hangdog hero over shifting sands of folk ramble, pulled muscle twang, and the kind of winking storyteller odes that make it clear how he’s shared record credits with Michael Hurley. Buckley’s been roiling in the underground for far too long. The weathered resolve of Towering Ground should do its best to thrust him into a few more folks’ awareness. It’s an endearing record that once again proves that Western Mass should be seen for the fertile grounds it’s become and bound to be in the next few years to come.
Support the artist. Buy it HERE.