Sleepover Show #39: Chris Bathgate
Before embarking on a tour this summer with his full band to help support his latest release, Salt Year, Chris Bathgate did a mini solo tour. Stopping off in Boston at TT the Bear’s Place, he joined us to perform a few tunes, doing multiple takes of each song, changing them, honing them, expanding their sound, creating a full band with just his microphone, guitar loops, and sheer energy. Alone, he managed to reproduce some incredible versions of two of his older songs for us, as well as a cut off his new album.
It is oftentimes difficult to describe the effect that watching a musician engage with their art has on us. We can only hope to capture some of that magic–when a performer seemingly melts into their own songs, disappearing for a few minutes while they transform guitar strings, pedals and wires into tools for igniting a room. Yet this is what Bathgate did–for nearly two hours in the darkened back rooms of the venue, with only the three of us as his audience. It did not hurt that he played two of our favorite songs from albums past, Serpentine and Cold Press Rail. Or that we’d been playing his latest release for weeks in anticipation for his visit.
Recently, Tom Waits said that songs are really just finding “interesting things to do with the air.” Pay attention to the air in these songs. Listen to the echoes of Bathgate’s voice, swirling in and out of the songs, the strumming of his guitar growing to a crescendo then slowly fading away. One of our favorite moments in these videos is when, during Serpentine, he moves away from his microphone, though his voice keeps haunting the room. The camera finally finds him again, having moved on to his guitar, to build the song back up, leading us to the final solo.
In just a week, Chris Bathgate will release a new album, Salt Year, and you should make your way to the stores to buy it immediately. You won’t regret it.
First up, Serpentine from A Cork Tale Wake.
Next, No Silver from his newest album Salt Year.
Finally, Cold Press Rail from Wait, Skeleton.
And our teaser: