In Review: Buck Meek - 'Roll Back Your Clocks'

The Big Thief guitarist returns with a track as soothing as it is encouraging.
Posted: 16 July 2020 Words: John Bell

Buck Meek practically radiates endearment. Even his name has wholesome, Americana tones of a friendly neighbour or favourite uncle. Most probably recognise him as the guitarist for Big Thief, one of the best bands to come out the last decade, with whom he gently gyrates like a wind-up toy with eyes closed and a Cheshire Cat smile, as he fingerpicks effortlessly on stage. 

But the quiet Texan's own writing is just as shaken with emotion as his band's, and their live sets regularly feature a Buck Meek interlude of sorts to spotlight this. Two years on from his self-titled solo debut, Meek has returned 'Roll Back Your Clocks', a first taste of material written in lockdown. 

Produced by Andrew Sarlo (who's also worked with Big Thief, Bon Iver, Nick Hakim, amongst others), the track is said to be a "Reminder to trust our telepathic instincts, and to value the connection with our loved ones as something that we always have access to, even in solitude, regardless of proximity". This idea of unspoken and unbreakable bonds is no doubt a result of time stuck indoors and alone – a stark contrast for Big Thief who have toured relentlessly and refer to each other on more familial terms – but it's also one that was adopted as a method for production. Sarlo instructed Meek to send the bare bones of the track to his collaborators on the project – Austin Vaughn, Ken Woodward, Mat Davidson and Adam Brisbin – separately and without direction, allowing the producer to collate each contribution together into a whole. 

The result is exactly that. Whole. "Treetops dance by the window / Casting shadows on the sheets," he sings over dusty guitar strings and a distant pedal steel, "Pillow marks, lines of limbo / Align like a sundial on your cheek". In process and in product, with 'Roll Back Your Clocks' Meek singles out solitary moments and bonds them together to share their beauty. 

Listen to more of Buck Meek here

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