Sometimes, the catalyst for creating great art is simply being in the right place at the right time. For Arthur Buck, the new collaboration between singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur and guitarist Peter Buck, that place was Mexico, and that time was the fall of 2017. The two musicians, it should be noted, have a history that stretches back decades; among other pairings, Arthur opened shows for R.E.M. in the early 2000s, while Buck has backed Arthur on numerous occasions, including for an elegiac, piano-led cover of Lou Reed’s “Walk On the Wild Side” on the Late Show with David Letterman in 2014. But back to Mexico.
Specifically, a little town off the Baja coast named Todos Santos, with the Sierra de la Laguna mountains to the east and the bright blue Pacific stretching out infinitely to the west. It is here that Buck has for the last several years held the Todos Santos Music Festival, which he created with his wife, Chloe Johnson, in 2012, shortly after R.E.M. called it a day. Among the many artists who have played the festival is Arthur, who also happened to leave behind a guitar—a Dobro, specifically—after his last appearance there. And so last year he made the trek down to Todos Santos to pick up the instrument. Which is where he ran into Buck. “I have a house there, and I said to Joe, ‘Drop by. Come swimming,’” Buck recalls. Arthur took him up on the offer, though he didn’t merely drop by—he moved in. “We’d basically go to the beach, we’d swim in the ocean, and then in the afternoons I’d grab a guitar and we’d sit in the shade and play,” Buck says.
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