Review: Wisconsin, 2-13-63, Vol. 1 at CDUniverse.com (2007)

Bucky Halker has nothing like the public profile of Roger McGuinn, Tom Petty, or Bob Dylan, but some fans of those artists will probably find much to enjoy in Wisconsin 2.13.63. Certainly his likably straining vocals can’t help but inspire comparisons to each of those three artists. And like McGuinn’s best solo work, the record is mature folk-rock that, while making its influences in past styles clear, isn’t annoyingly revivalist or imitative. While Halker is folkier, and less rock, in his orientation than McGuinn, and certainly than Petty, he can rock out in a full-bodied straightforward manner. His musical settings, however, are more eclectic than those who worship at the shrine of McGuinn and Petty’s electric 12-string (though there is indeed some electric 12-string here and there in that school). Some Latin, roots folk, light swing, and even Byrds/Beatles influences are drawn in too. The songs themselves are an admirably varied lot, from tunes about birds and St. Francis to a murder narrative (the border music/spaghetti western-flavored “Gun So Small” is a highlight), weary road tunes, and some melancholy romantic numbers. ~ Richie Unterberger

Bucky Halker presents us with this album an excellent, very dynamic sounding collection of self penned songs. He has the excellent ability to write songs, that stick in your ear and still carry outstanding lyrics. A dozen of great tunes are collected on this album, all with lyrics added in the booklet and personal notes to each song. (www.cduniverse.com)

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