Another Year, Another Great Peter Buck Side Project

Last year we raved about former R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck’s latest side project Filthy Friends, so much so that we named it one of the best albums of 2017. Well it’s another year, so it must be time for another “latest Peter Buck side project”. He is a collaboration junkie, having worked over the years on no fewer than ten such projects, including albums with Warren Zevon, Billy Bragg, Robyn Hitchcock, Squeeze’s Glenn Tillbrook and Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy. This is a guy who likes to keep busy making music.

We tend to think of side projects as tossed off jam sessions recorded by artists hanging out and having fun together, but in Buck’s case it’s simply the way he makes music, the way he finds his most fruitful creative space. In a recent interview Buck told NPR that “I don’t really believe in side projects. Anything I do is something I am completely focused on in the moment. I really believe in the process of collaboration.”

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This time around Buck is working with Joseph Arthur, the eccentric singer/songwriter, poet and visual artist who has released more than 20 albums and EPs since 1997. Joseph brings a refined lyrical sensibility and an earthy, evocative voice to the table, making it a good fit with Buck’s songcraft mastery and distinctive jangly guitar sound. The two are calling themselves Arthur Buck and are releasing a self-titled album on June 15.

Arthur used to open a lot for R.E.M. concerts back in the day, so he and Buck had a familiarity and a comfort level with one another right from the start. And you can sense that sympatico in the first single released from the album called “I Am The Moment”. Arthur said that “we wrote ‘I Am The Moment’ within the first ten minutes of seeing each other. He had the chords and arrangement and I did the top line — except when I sang, ‘I am the moment ,’ he sang back, ‘Waiting for you.’ Peter said, ‘Okay, finish the lyrics so we can play that tonight.’ And I did, and we did. And the crowd completely sang along to it.”

It’s a very nice little song. “I am the moment waiting for you” is a beautiful, thought-provoking line well worth repeating as they do in the song. This has all the markings of yet another high-end Peter Buck collaboration and we can’t wait to hear what the rest of the album sounds like.

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