ABOVE: PAUL BUCHANAN. IMAGE COURTESY OF JASON CAMPBELL
56 may not be the age at which most musicians typically release their first solo record, but Paul Buchanan's Mid Air isn't a typical first record. Comprised of stripped-down instrumentals and disarmingly unpolished vocals, Mid Air feels like one of those late-night bar shows you sometimes get lucky enough to stumble across. The music is bare and genuine to a degree that usually suggests either a complete novice or an expert. Buchanan is, of course, the latter.
While the album may be the first for the singer and songwriter alone, it is by no means his first. For 30 years, Buchanan was a member of the successful Scottish trio the Blue Nile, which was known for its synth-heavy love songs, pining lyrics, and long gaps between releases. Despite the eight years it took to record this latest album, Mid Air is a departure from the Blue Nile days. Listeners will find the themes broader and the sound less contrived.
"God is Laughing," a track we're happy to premiere above, is the record at its best. Organ, horns, harmonica, and acoustic guitar accompany Buchanan as he navigates through wry lyrical territory, managing to be lighthearted and sorrowful in the same breath. As there's no telling when a follow-up might be released, we're recommending that Mid Air be listened to in the same manner that it was made—thoughtfully and in absolutely no hurry at all.
PAUL BUCHANAN'S MID AIR IS OUT NOW. FOR MORE ON THE MUSICIAN, VISIT HIS WEBSITE.