Richard Buckner, 'Surrounded'
A country-folk-rock modernist with an intoxicating tenor and a heart-wrenching sense of poetics, Buckner chiseled these nine spare songs from a single story, telegraphing narrative through flashes of dreams and dug-up memories. With drones and odd instrumentation (hello, Suzuki QChord electronic autoharp!) swarming his minimalist acoustic guitar work, the emotions seem both simple and confoundingly elusive. Ain't life like that sometimes?