A new supergroup of sorts, featuring beloved singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur, and R.E.M. guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Peter Buck, alt rock newcomers Arthur Buck came together quickly last fall after a chance meeting in Mexico turned into an impromptu jam, and, eventually, an album, which the duo will bring to life on the road for the first time with full band accompaniment. Whether your fans of either, both, or neither, Arthur Buck is definitely a project that stands on its own, boasting adventurous electronics and samples, layered instrumentation, and timely, topical lyrics. The group will play Nashville for the first time tonight, Sept. 16 at The Basement East with longtime alt-country favorite Matthew Ryan, and tickets are available here! Read on for more about the show.
For over two decades, alternative and folk-tinged singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur has been a dependable creative force, generally widely acclaimed for his more than a dozen great records, and something of a favorite songwriter within the musical community, if not one’s who’s necessarily ever become a true household name. By contrast, rocker Peter Buck found fame with R.E.M., his iconic band who rose from the college rock underground in the ’80s to become certifiable mainstream rock stars in the ’90s, staying well-esteemed and prolific until their split back in 2011. Since then, Buck has seemingly enjoyed taking on smaller scale endeavors, starting from scratch, getting experimental, and collaborating with anyone he finds creatively invigorating, and that path led him to Arthur, for their new collaborative project Arthur Buck.
While their paths had crossed many times before (Arthur was a fan of R.E.M., Buck discovered him through recommendation of producer T Bone Burnett, Arthur later toured with R.E.M., and has collaborated with members in various capacities since), Arthur and Buck didn’t initially intend to start a band. After a chance meeting in Todos Santos, Mexico (where Buck hosts a musical festival, which Arthur played, then returned to track down a dobro left behind), the pair decided to hang out, leading to an impromptu jam session and, in just a matter of days, their debut album. In a sense, the songs came first, but opting to formally start a band, the group inked a deal with New West Records, and released their eponymous debut back in June.
Adopting a sound that feels like a blend of their individual sensibilities, Arthur Buck employ drum machines and samples, layered guitars, and a sort of classic, alternative feel. Remaining the primary lyricist for the project, Arthur has taken on a thematic focus that feels especially timely, exploring the complicated state of the world while also trying to keep positive. For their upcoming tour, the band’s first ever, Arthur Back will be accompanied by a backing band of many of their talented friends (including R.E.M. collaborator Scott McCaughey), and, though this project is brand new (and, apparently, they’ve opted to play only an Arthur Buck set, with no solo portions of the show), given the sum of its parts, you can expect an excellent, polished, and extraordinary introduction to an off-beat, epic teamup.
Arthur Buck and Matthew Ryan will perform tonight, Sept. 16 at The Basement East. The show is 18+, begins at 8 p.m. (doors at 7 p.m.), and tickets are available to purchase for $22-25.