Album Review: Daniel Bachman

Daniel Bachman

Jesus I’m A Sinner

daniel_bachman_jesus_im_a_sinner

Daniel Bachman started making waves in the industry with his critically acclaimed 2012 album Seven Pines for its rhythmic fingerpicking instrumental guitar style which showcased some pretty amazing chops. However his 2013 follow-up Jesus I’m A Sinner doesn’t just stick with what worked on the last album, it’s nearly the exact same album.

Bachman will be playing at Stuart’s Opera House, 52 Public Square, Saturday which will be preceded by a viewing of In Search of Blind Joe Death: The Saga of John Fahey, a documentary about the life and music of one of the greatest guitarists to have ever lived and one who certainly had great influence on Bachman’s work. Stuart’s will also host a record exchange in the lobby throughout the event.

The event is really the best way to see this guitarist, who despite some flaws, has a real majestic, mesmerizing spell over listeners. He plays a self described “psychedelic Appalachian” style of music. But think of psychedelic in the sitar-esq, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band kind of way and replace the sitar with guitar and banjo. And he sticks to that style as every song has that distinct Appalachian feel of simple hillbilly melodies (and I mean that in the best way possible).

Bachman doesn’t make the most complicated rhythms ever heard from finger picking artists (check out Rodrigo y Gabriela for some really mind blowing rhythms), but he is able to combine the background base harmony with some truly spectacular melodies over top and all on one guitar. It’s truly amazing the kind of mood he can set with this style of playing and I can only imagine how all-encompassing that experience would be live.

“Chattanooga really encapsulates that hillbilly style with interwoven banjo, guitar and violin rhythms. And “Leaving Istanbul (4 AM)” is the only song on the record that sounds like it has any direction by conveying the chaos and mysteries of this journey. But the real stand out track is the album’s title track “Jesus I’m A Sinner,” which is just an unbelievable showcase of Bachman’s skill.

The problem is that every song sets the same mood over and over again. There is very little rise and fall throughout the album or even throughout the songs. Everything stays at one fast moving melodic level. “Leaving Istanbul (4 AM)” is the only song on the record that sounds like it has any direction by conveying the chaos and mysteries of this journey.  If you picked up on Seven Pines there’s really very little to latch onto here.

On the other hand any John Fahey fans might have a lot to look forward to from this performance.

“Daniel is definitely someone who is in the same vicinity or genre as Fahey,” said Brian Koscho, marketing director at Stuart’s. “For people who are familiar with John Fahey but might not know some of the people who are doing these nowadays in music, it’ll be cool to watch…”

The whole event includes a record sale that runs through the afternoon, the movie and concert for $8 at Stuart’s Opera House. And while the record may be boring to listen to any music fan would do well to have one of his records ready to spin when studying or need some soothing background music.

@Wilbur_Hoffman

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