Ron Bucknam | Enthusiasms & Lamentations

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Folk: Fingerstyle Classical: Contemporary Moods: Featuring Guitar
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Enthusiasms & Lamentations

by Ron Bucknam

Like an affecting poem or short story, these compositions have no extraneous elements. Every note & chord is frieghted with emotional authenticity and contributes to the structural subtlety of the pieces. The music resonates long after the CD ends.
Genre: Folk: Fingerstyle
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Whisper Me Over
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4:38 album only
2. Well, Perhaps
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5:04 album only
3. Dark Comes Down
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3:31 album only
4. The Distant Present
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3:17 album only
5. What Falls Away, Falls
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9:06 album only
6. Unstilling
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3:00 album only
7. Tides Inside
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4:50 album only
8. Rivery Air
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5:33 album only
9. Riding At Anchor
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6:43 album only
Available as MP3, MP3 320, and FLAC files.


Album Notes
"So much harmonic info to take in; boredom never sets in with such minimal amount of repetition. Beauty everywhere." -Mike O'neill, educator, musician

"Your new acoustic CD is great. Really beautiful voicings and playing - lush and stark all at once" Sean Mcgowen, "Acoustic Guitar Player", best independent release of the year award 2001


to write a review

Gregory Walker

a stellar soundscape
"Whisper Me Over" sets the stage for the cd with a soundscape that separates itself from other artists' languages with what appear to be regular paired chordal relationships - functional relationships that are often "reset" after two harmonies. The recorded sound of "Well, Perhaps" is rife with string noise punctuation. Dark Comes Down definitely has a Spanish vibe with modern jazz overtones, an unusual combination.
The Distant Present seems to me to take over on the fringe of where Metheney's One Quiet Night left off. What Falls Away, Falls possesses a couple of progressions that could spawn their own songs. It was perhaps an inner logic that a waltz from Hell, Unstilling, would morph into a polka and beyond... once recovering from those bracing, uncompressed slap harmonics. Tides Inside reminded me of what occasional conventional tertiary and dominant seventh chords sound like, and in the process almost makes them sound like the outsiders. By Rivery Air, with its droning open strings, the tracks almost feel like extensions of each other, which is the natural result of maintaining standard tuning, a kind of heroic choice in a project of this length. Riding At Anchor has a wonderful, autumnal quality, as if a meditation on the whole.

Patty Frederick

Enthusiasms and Lamentations
This is a beautiful album. I never tire of listening to it. It's like a great painting: every time you visit it, it offers new sounds and evokes new feelings. I love the infinite variety of chords/combinations/strokes. I don't have a favorite piece. They are all equally lyrical, original, and lovely. It is music to soothe the savage beast - or - just a person who's a little out of sorts for one reason or another. Thanks for sharing your wonderful talent.

Michael A. Miller, guitar teacher, luthier, occasional columnist

Fractal Fascination
On the back of this solo acoustic guitar album, below the name Ron Bucknam, are the words “Composer Performer”. The words should be hyphenated, since no non-guitarist could have possibly composed these nine pieces. They are the product of literally decades of physical experimentation and critical listening. He has extracted from standard E tuning, without benefit of electronics or overdubs, a staggering collection of chords, voicings and progressions that this listener has never heard or imagined even possible. Many of the delicious harmonies defy traditional names, no matter how many slashes or superscripts are added. Fitting for the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth, I suggest the compositions evolved out of endless fingerboard permutations, naturally selected by an ear familiar with centuries of the world’s music. Of course, as anyone familiar with Ron’s other CDs already knows, he’s also a very intelligent designer.

Ron’s progressions rise and fall, gentle arpeggio rhythms pushing small clouds of hybrid major, minor and modal harmony that dissolve and then reform against a background sky of pedal tones. Melodies, bass lines and counterpoint are byproducts of his obsession with the flow of fascinating, unpredictable chords. The compositions have a fractal rather than architectural logic, an elusive coherence across different scales, from the whole CD to a single selection to a 3 second passage.

I can imagine other determined guitarists one day playing this material as part of the 21st century classical repertoire. I just can’t imagine anyone other than Ron able to create it.

Michael Grodesky

The Rigor of Simplicity
If you listen casually to Ron Bucknam’s new CD Enthusiasms & Lamentations, you might think that the nine selections are something of a departure from his past work. They are, in fact, beautiful and melodic and approachable. The more engaged listener will discover, however, that the selections are not from a changed Bucknam but rather a pure Bucknam who has made himself and his music expressively available in this collection. All of the elements that his fans have come to recognize and love about his creativity are abundantly present in Enthusiasms & Lamentations. His bold use of silence, the intelligent rhythms and interesting chord patterns that refuse to be forced into clichés, and, of course, improvisation—he is a master of improvisation. All of the elements that have made Bucknam continually fresh, interesting and present are there.

Bucknam has chosen to use the elegance of the solo guitar for this collection. Nothing stands between the musician and the listener, just the rigor of simplicity—vulnerable and beautiful. Indulge and enjoy!

Ron Rohovit

Enthusiasms & Lamentations
Ron is a skilled guitarist and composer with the talent to take the listener into deep musical environments. He's created dynamic, pulsing and complex electronic music that sounds like it came from the center of a supernova, to his latest musical journey that will take the listener into diverse, rich and earthy environments. Enthusiasms & Lamentations is an excellent cd with soundscapes that are filled with rich, lush harmonies that flow into and out of unresolved dissonance producing beautiful and warm, dark and seductive, and always unpredictable musical journeys. This cd is outstanding and should be in everyone's collection.

Janet Feder

Enthusiasms & Lamentations
This feels like Ron's most intimate music to date - and Ron is always authentic and intimate. He perfectly captures his relationship to the guitar in 'Enthusiasms & Lamentations'; the listener is left no doubt about this artist's ability to flow with absolute intention and abandon between his heart and his hands. Ron defines the landscape where improvisation, composition, and performance meet - and this music is gorgeous proof of it. Rich and full of the unexpected, yet listenable enough for dancing around the room, I look forward to repeated listening. I feel sure I'll always be surprised.