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Daniel Bachman

Jesus I’m 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.


18By William Hoffman | @Wilbur_Hoffman |

Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons Hey Kid Vital Music USA

She doesn’t have the quirky lovability of Kacey Musgraves or the down and dirty back roads feel of a real country girl, but what she does bring is 100 percent rock ‘n’ roll and 100 percent her.

Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons come out with its newest effort and full length album Hey Kid Jan. 21 with high expectations after the single “Hurricane” received great radio play in the Columbus area and was even featured for a short period on ABC for the USC v. UCLA game back in November.

With four EPs/ short LPs before this release, Perley and the Howlin’ Moons had a lot to prove and they pull it off big time. Hey Kid is certainly their finest album yet as it feels fleshed out from beginning to end, flows well and has some rockin’ singles to play off of. However, it feels as though somethings being held back from the guitar as fans might miss out on some of the lengthier roaring guitar solos they have come accustomed to on previous singles such as “18 Feet Under,” or “County Fair.”

But not to fret, because if the group’s performance in Athens this past fall is any indication they have moved the live performance out of the record and to the stage where it belongs and allowed the album to be its own art medium. This change makes Hey Kid sound more like a Rolling Stones or Tom Petty riff based country-rock record, which is certainly a welcome change.

Although the big exception is “Roll On Over” which sounds like “Johnny B. Goode” honkey tonk-ified — in the best way. Guitarist Chris Connor really lets loose on this song and takes you back to rockabilly style modernized.

“Hurricane” is the foot-stomping low bass driven song that has become the group’s biggest single to date and really steals the show off the album. “George Stone” and “Ghost” also have that great guitar driven high energy that “Hurricane” brings to the table.

Although Perley is now based in Columbus, it’s refreshing to hear her sing candidly and heartfelt about Athens, where she graduated from Ohio University. The album actually begins and ends with the track simply titled “Athens,” where she looks back on those life changing years with a great fondness. Splitting up the reprise to close out the song works beautifully but it sure is powerful live when it’s put all together in one song. It’s really the perfect way to start off and end the album.

Hey Kid is about 60 percent country and 40 percent pure rock ‘n’ roll. That’s an interesting combination for a genre that has been largely deteriorated this past year by truck toting, dog loving, dirt road riding garbage on the radio and could use a swift kick in the ass. Perley along with Chris Connor (who I still consider to be one of the finest guitarists in Ohio now), Billy Zehnal on bass and Steve Rupp on drums, are the fresh blood the genre could use and they are coming at quite an opportune time.

You can catch Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons with Keesey at Casa Nueva, 6 W. State St., Friday at 10 p.m.

Photo By Kevin James 

The RidgesBy William Hoffman | | @Wilbur_Hoffman

There are many quirks and oddities that make Athens a place we all love: Debating what’s in the special sauce on a chicken and waffle, hiking up to radar hill with your best friends or studying in Donkey Coffee with a steaming cup by your side is just the tip of that iceberg. But from the hype heard around Court Street and the giddy excitement from every music fan in town, it’s clear that seeing a performance from The Ridges ranks up there with any of the other must-do unique activities that Athens has to offer in our short four-year experience.

 It’s a sight many of us have seen before but Saturday’s Ridges show at Casa Nueva is still just as bafflingly magical no matter how many times you’ve seen them perform. The entire community seems to come out to see the band, screaming every lyric at the top of their lungs, which is unheard of for a band that has a relatively small following. For anyone who may not know, The Ridges could best be described as an orchestral Americana band, but that title seems to mellow for the bombastic, stomping and screaming that took place Saturday. The group combines rock, folk and indie but more and more so have put a greater emphasis on the rock portion.

 The Ridges experiment a lot with song order during shows from starting in an acoustic circle in the middle of the crowd before plugging in, to the noisy chaotic orchestral screams on the beginning of “Not A Ghost.” This time the group went right into “When The Bell Tolls,” which is arguably one of their best and most energetic songs. However, Victor Rasgaitis’ voice never reached the level of screaming nirvana during the lyric “you should know” that puts the special kick to the song. It’s like going to an Avett Brothers concert and not hearing Seth Avett’s scream blood curdling scream — disappointing but still overwhelmingly fulfilling.

Transitions between songs are flowing and never skip a beat as the band brings the energy down with some simple strokes of a cello to evoke chills throughout your body. Talor Smith is incredible as she shreds standing behind her cello while providing backup vocals and organizing the entire string section. And the organization and practice on those string parts paid of Saturday, especially on “The Insomniac’s Song” which had intensely subtle cello and violin parts throughout the whole song.

Hearing “Invented Love” is always a treat. It’s nice to have the complex string parts and noisy background noise but “Invented Love” is just straight to the punch. This love song reminds you of why love is the most overused subject matter in song writing. Rasgaitis’ voice is so genuine that you can’t help but be drawn into the song.

 And of course no Ridges performance would be complete without a cover of Sufjan Stevens’ “Chicago” to make everyone feel warm and closer to your fellow Athens friends.

Indigo Wild was not to be overlooked Saturday night either. With the group’s high energy indie rock style and flowing melodic guitar licks, the band should be headlining its own show in Athens soon.

“Rowboats” is a great poetic song that continually builds and falls with each passing chorus. And “Eager Times” is made into a full on rock song with almost metal-like drumming to support the indie guitar melodies and harmonized vocals.

William Hoffman

Staff Writer | | @Wilbur_Hoffman


Having been in the Athens rap scene for over 10 yeImagears, Hil Hackworth has gained some major respect all across Ohio, and his new solo project, Hidden In Lyrics, is one of the most ambitious and infectious projects to date.

Following last years album, Dysfunctional Family Reunion, which required a great deal of collaboration among artists, Hidden in Lyrics is written, produced and mastered exclusively by Hackworth and focuses on his recent struggles in his love life.

Hackworth said he broke up with his girlfriend of two years and almost instantly started writing about the loneliness he felt, and that emotion certainly comes out in the album.

Hackworth doesn’t hold anything back, sharing a great deal of his personal life with fans — loss, betrayal, anger, violence, love and hate.

What’s even better is that Hackworth puts a hook to all of his songs. I found myself going back and listening to songs such as “Natural,” “What Am I Doing Here” and “Jolene” over and over again because I couldn’t get the song out of my head.

“Natural” is easily one of the more uplifting songs from the album, seemingly about Hackworth’s recovery from his previous relationship and being a natural at getting back to chasing women. The chorus has a catchy hook and it’s supported by a cocky swagger in his verses. I actually had to look up the chorus to make sure it wasn’t a sample from another song — it’s that catchy.

But it’s songs like this that are in stark contrast to his more serious songs such as “The Opposite Of Love,” which talks about the duality of his two-year-relationship. “I’m sleeping on the couch wonder what just happened,” Hackworth raps on the song. “I started with the yelling she started with the slapping, I started with the shut the fuck up she started crying. I’ll never understand this girl there’s no denying.”

“Jolene” is another emotional song that samples Dolly Parton’s hit song of the same title. The guitar part is cleverly taken from the song and set to a hip-hop drum beat and sick bass lick. And Dolly Parton’s vocals add an oddly ominous feel to the story of the song.

The album is one of the most emotional and personal albums to come out of Athens in recent years and anyone from hardcore rap enthusiasts to rock and roll die hards can appreciate the story it tells.

All of this is not to mention that it’s a quick 10 song listen and a free download off of bandcamp. Hackworth has made a record from the emotional anguish he felt and this album will surely come to connect with others who feel the same.