Published Nov 11, 2016Daniel Bachman has released an astonishing amount of high-quality music in recent years. What makes the feat even more impressive is that he's just 27 years old. The Virginia-born wunderkind and fingerstyle guitarist of the American Primitive persuasion has 16 official releases to his name since 2011. His latest, a self-titled effort, is a dizzying display of his enviable talent.
The album gets underway with "Brightleaf Blues I," a fine opener that begins with a screeching drone before settling into some slide guitar reminiscent of Ry Cooder's Paris, Texas soundtrack. The song gently meanders to the finish, and the slow pace continues with "The Flower Tree" until Bachman's percussive arpeggios pick that song up in the latter half. "Wine and Peanuts" is probably the one foot-stomper on here, with a determined, bluesy rhythm, while the next track, "A Dog Named Pepper," slows things down again with a fading and then recovering finger-picked pattern that finishes with some dominant slide guitar — and somewhat mystifyingly, the sound of car wheels driving on a gravel road.
The second instalment of "Brightleaf Blues" is next, and feels much like the first edition save for the 14-plus-minute runtime, while "Watermelon Slices on a Blue Bordered Plate" makes you long for a lazy summer afternoon in your favourite lawn chair with its swampland slide work. Bachman closes out the album with "Farther Along," his take on the Southern gospel standard sans lyrics.
This is an intriguing album that doesn't allow the listener the placid, breezy experience that some instrumental albums permit. Also, instruments such as the octotone and shruti box, both used to provide drone as accompaniment to other instruments, serve well to pique the listener's curiosity. It's a capricious, indecisive creation at times, but in the most pleasurable way possible. (Three Lobed)