Richard Buckner has a voice made for alternative country. His grizzled, booze- and cigarettes-soaked vocals paint pictures with his darkly poetic, love-torn lyrics. “What’s holding my heart is the way you used to hold me,” Buckner moans in “Six Years,” with a weepy accordion and acoustic guitar fluttering under the devastation. “I’m not gonna take it easy/I’m gonna go to bed mad/This is where things start goin’ bad,” he grumbles on the lap steel-wound “This Is Where.” He's a master of lyric and mood; Buckner’s vast talents displayed on his first outing have kept Bloomed on the playlist of many a No Depression/alt-country fan over the years. Though his roots are in the California delta, Buckner is aligned with Lubbock, Texas–based artists like Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock. He recorded Bloomed in that city, with noted producer Lloyd Maines; local musicians like Terry Allen and Ponty Bone make appearances. Bloomed stands as something of a classic debut, and it well represents Buckner's deep talents.