Bachman’s been a fixture among the acoustic fingerpicked set that courts both experimental interest and highbrow acclaim. Littering labels like Tompkins Square, Feeding Tube, Bathetic and Three Lobed, the young guitarist rose to acclaim pretty quickly, settling him in as an NPR pick and slotting him alongside names like Jack Rose and Richard Bishop in conversations on American Folk prosperity. All that baggage comes along nicely in tow with his latest, eponymous album, but Bachman lets none of it define him or his music. He’s not a wunderkind, Terry Gross talking point or cassette fetishist secret, Bachman’s got the soul of American folk and Southern slide blues stamped under his skin. Like Rose, he plays with a touch that’s both intense and surprisingly nuanced, and that touch is front and center on the songs that occupy this self-titled LP.
Though Rose may only be a more modern comparison, Bachman has certainly spent his time in the halls of the Fahey school and picked up his penchant for pacing and his bone dry ambience, which lends a definite heft to the album. Elsewhere he’s picked up certain amounts of Robbie Basho’s flourish and Peter Walker’s delicacy. Though unlike either of those, Bachman never strays into straight raga. He’s certainly digested plenty of it, but what sets Bachman apart is that he nips complimentary bits from drone, folk, blues and raga and lets them all hang together into a heatwave baked concoction of low plains blues that finds itself reveling in solitude. He taps into the desolate desperation of Appalachia and the edgy intensity of Southern folk-blues and he crafts an album that fully supports his wave of early plaudits. On Daniel Bachman, he’s established himself as a master of his instrument and as a name that’s welcome to sit solidly alongside those touchstones that likely gave him inspiration.
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