Clarence Bucaro was born in Chardon, Ohio, outside Cleveland, but has had musical homes in New Orleans, Los Angeles and New York City, not to mention on the road throughout the year. Beginning with his 2002 debut, the bluesy, Big Easy-influenced Sweet Corn, produced by Anders Osborne, up to the politically charged folk-rock of the 2009 LP, Walls of the World, Bucaro, a two-time finalist in NPR’s Mountain Stage New Song Music Contest, has excelled in delivering penetrative – and excitingly melodic – observations about relationships. There’s no question the singer-songwriter has sharpened those skills with his latest album, Pendulum.
Co-produced with Tom Schick (Ryan Adams, Wilco), the 10 tracks on Pendulum come to life through Bucaro’s intimate literate lyrics and velvet-and-molasses vocals, with the title track capturing the troubling yin and thrilling yang of romantic pursuits. An achingly realized display of the former comes courtesy of Bucaro’s collaboration on “Strangers,” with the song’s co-writer and duet partner, Allison Moorer.
“I had spent a good six months writing the material for Pendulum, and yet I felt I was one song away from a record still,” Bucaro tells Rolling Stone Country of the sorrowful tune. “I wanted a new perspective and to try something different. After hearing Allison singing her heartbreakingly beautiful ‘Down to Believing’ at the 30A Festival in Florida, I knew I wanted to try some writing together with her and this was a great impetus to do so. The idea behind ‘Strangers’ was something Allison had been thinking about and between talks of relationships, New York, literature, parenthood and life, this song came together.”
The song’s effortless creation, by which both songwriters were pleasantly surprised, offered an indication that they were on to something special.
“‘Strangers’ happened pretty organically,” Moorer explains. “Clarence and I had been trying to get together to write something for a while, and on the day before we finally did, this little melody floated into my head. The next morning I was thinking about life and relationships and how everything and everyone is constantly changing – how someone can be your whole world at one point in your life and then be nothing but a memory at another. I told Clarence about all of that over coffee, and about two hours later we had a song.”