The term “underrated” gets thrown around a lot whenever anyone is talking about their favorite songwriters/musicians, but in Bachman’s case it couldn’t be more appropriate. Over the course of six records he has fine tuned his sound and songwriting acumen to the point that to call him anything less then one of these generations’ very best songwriters would be doing yourself and Bachman a grave disservice.
Yes, there is good bit of familiarity in Crooked Fingers music, but therein lies the genius. By sticking to a fairly stripped down sound, the emphasis becomes focused on the stories that Bachman is telling with his lyrics. Crooked Fingers isn’t out to reinvent anything. They’re out to perfect it, and after witnessing last Tuesday’s performance I’d say they make a pretty strong case for having done just that.
Keeping the crowd hanging on their every note, the bulk of the set was made of the newer (and excellent) material from Breaks In The Armor, but more than a few chances were taken to look back into the past of the bands catalog and dust of a few gems. “Sleep All Summer” from 2005’s Dignity and Shame featured some gorgeous harmonizing with band member Liz Durett over its heartsick refrain of “Why won’t you fall back in love with me?” Near the end of the set, “Carrboro Woman”, from Bachman’s 2006 solo record, To The Races, practically sucked the air out of the room with its fragile yet powerful Dylanesque beauty coupled with the brutal emotional honesty of the line “You ain’t my woman. And woman I am not your man”
These themes of duality and, more often than not, emotional devastation run rampant through the whole of Crooked Fingers catalog, and their greatest success a band is that none of it ends of feeling like a drag. It’s OK to have some bad feelings. In fact it’s OK to have them all the time if that’s what you’ve gotta do to get by. There’s a beauty in that realization and it’s one of the many, many reasons that one of the best things you could possibly do for yourself this year is get out and spend a night with Crooked Fingers when they come to your town. At least it was for us.