It has been a long time coming, waiting to see Daniel Bachman play in flesh, so to speak. A musician of rare and remarkable talents he popped up at the Lantern in Bristol this weekend. Apparently this was his third visit to Bristol; the first some tiny basement somewhere, the second with the wonderful Ryley Walker at the Cube (both of which I missed).
I have long been enamoured of his quite astonishing music, from my first listen courtesy of Hands in the Dark Records in 2011 who alerted me to Apparitions at the Kenmore Plantation, then later Oh Be Joyful the following year and most recently the superb album, River out on the ever-excellent Three Lobed Recordings on whose Bandcamp page you can stream (and buy!) the album.
I am always enthralled by an artist who can take the stage and hold an audience by making the most head-filling sounds from a guitar. Simultaneously old and contemporary, this is the sound of the American South from perhaps the best American primitive guitar player of our day, edged with bits of blues, psychedelia and a healthy dose of experimentalism. It’s a music that feels instinctively familiar but none the less weaves its own way, growing, changing, unfolding and improvising without any sense of self-absorption and without losing its way.
The technique is as flawless as the casual lack of pretension. Few people would open up for a largely unknowing audience with a fifteen minute track like Wont You cross Over To That Other Shore, the lead off track from River, and keep them rapt and absorbed.
The all-too brief set of course had material from River but also some wonderful lap steel playing from a new release set for the autumn, also on Three Lobed. The man told me he is due to come back to these shores next year, perhaps with a couple of pals on their own drone instruments for a set of them together and Bachman playing solo – as and when they set the dates, you would be a fool not to strike out and see him and his captivating playing. Matt Roberts at The Convent, I hope you are listening and find this fine chap a slot in your schedule – its hard to think of a finer pairing than this exultant music in that most remarkable of settings.