American legends Richard Buckner and Edith Frost are playing together at the San Francisco Bathhouse on Wednesday night.

There are three kinds of American folk artist: those who sit, contented, on a back porch contemplating America’s landscape and ways; those for whom its landscape and ways are something to stand against or move boldly through; and those whose America is a shadowy, impressionistic place that moves inside of them. This [latter] is the area that the sombre-voiced Richard Buckner has been exploring since 1984 –(Sylvie Simmons; The Guardian, 2004)

Richard Buckner is the true ‘American Wanderer’. The American landscape is the backdrop he moves against (literally as well as figuratively; he’s been traveling the North American continent for two decades now) and his relationship to it is shifting and ambiguous, a complicated state of existing within and without a country that is impossible to escape from unscathed. He’s worked alongside and recorded with Calexico, Giant Sand, Neko Case among many others, and he’s been described by Howe Gelb as having “one of the finest voices on the planet”.

Edith Frost walks a fine line, musically speaking, between sanity and utter madness. Since the nineties she’s been taking the conventions of introspected folk and alt-country and cramming it with such kitsch oddities and childlike arrangements as occur to her along the way. Her voice is the dusty, low pitched croon you might expect of an old-time country heartbreaker, but this is a woman who also digs on Blondie and has no qualms about forcing the glaring city lights of New Wave onto the quiet country and folk roads that underpin her music. Edith featured on the Drag City super session, alongside Bill Callahan, Brendan Murphy, Rian Murphy and Jim O’Rourke.

This is a show not to be missed.


Tickets are $25 plus booking fee, available from Slow Boat Records in Cuba Street.

MySpace pages for Richard Buckner and Edith Frost.