The Raw and the Smooth

Buck 65’s Talkin’ Honky Blues was nothing less than a revelation in 2003: There was rap again, whitebread hip-hop even, thrown in a centrifuge together with folk flavour, reverbs of Cash-ified country and Salinger echoes of adolescent blues, refined with a hoarse, rusty voice that certainly didn’t come straight outta Compton, but out of Mt. Uniacke, some distant hicktown in Nova Scotia, Can. Rich Terfry/ Buck 65 was already a vet way back then, now celebrating 20 Odd Years with his aptly titled new record. Actually, it feels like a perfected roundup of his earlier efforts, a panopticon of sounds oscillating with a sleepwalker’s certainty between the raw and the smooth, the sharp strangehold of Zombie Delight, the sparse, solemn intensity of She Said Yes, or Stop, a duet pop gem with Canadian singer Hannah Georgas sounding like having been written by the new President of the Blondie fan club. Unquestionably a superior contender for album of 2011, 20 Odd Years also features two French language tunes – Final Approach, an amiable collaboration with Quebecoise chanteuse Marie-Pierre Arthur, and Tears of Your Heart, a gorgeous alliance with Parisian associate Olivia Ruiz: This is the nouveau western.

Buck 65 w/ Marie-Pierre Arthur – Final Approach

Buck 65 w/ Olivia Ruiz – Tears of Your Heart