Buck Meek’s new record, Two Saviors, was recorded in the thick of summer in New Orleans, and there’s something about the sweet, wandering pace of it that, when you listen to it, puts you there, too. Perfect to soundtrack a slow walk with no intention or any place to rush to, Two Saviors connects the dots of Meek’s origins in Texas’ Hill Country to Brooklyn to the calm cool of Topanga Canyon in Los Angeles. These places that have shaped Meek, plus the heavy Louisiana heat, also shape the record with its hazy twang and textured, full arrangements. A dream-like state washes over the whole thing, blurring the lines between real and imagined stories rich in imagery.
Recorded with a full live band straight to tape, Two Saviors revels in the unexpected details that make its instrumentals burst with life. Meek’s brother Dylan brings organ and piano into the mix, and Mat “Twain” Davidson adds pleasantly moseying pedal steel, slide guitar, and fiddle. Davidson also lends shadowy backing vocals to one of the album’s standout tracks, “Candle,” cowritten with Meek’s Big Thief bandmate Adrienne Lenker. Like much of Two Saviors, it is a song tinged with vulnerability and longing. “I try not to call / but I think I’m being followed / it’s been about an hour or so / I hate for you to hear me scared / Otherwise I’m well / I guess you’re still the first place I go,” he sings, his voice loping and easy.
On “Dream Daughter,” Meek conjures up a little girl, growing taller, resembling her mother and father equally and wonders “Who are you? / Who would you have been?” The tune “Two Moons” appears twice on the record, in different iterations: the first quiet and contemplative, the second lively and communal. You can hear and share in the joy of Meek discovering both versions, letting the song lead him where it wants to go. And the glowy opening track, “Pareidolia,” explores the ways we assign meaning and images that may or may not actually be there, in clouds and in shadows. It is an exercise in using your imagination, being open to perception’s many possibilities.