William Tyler. Steve Gunn. Ryley Walker. Daniel Bachman. A crop of guitarists with an unmistakable ear for acoustic narrative, steeped in John Fahey recordings and their own wandering muses have been carrying a torch for American Primitivism. Bachman is one of the youngest, and at 25 he’s prolific in the way that perfectionists often are; you can almost hear the years he spent practicing between 2012’s Seven Pines and this new full-length River. And Seven Pines is only one in a long string of cassettes, 7-inches, and full-length albums that Bachman has released. Bachman can draw chords out with immense gravity, as on 14-minute opener “Won’t You Cross Over To That Other Shore,” or use a suite of tracks — “Song For The Setting Sun” parts one and two — to chronicle the last bits of sunlight in sprightly, quick-strummed melody. Pastoral imagery abounds here; all these progressions seems to happen outdoors, kicked off in a fit of joy on some back porch. This looseness is a testament to Bachman’s careful practice, constant vigilance and careful revision. They say you can never step in the same river twice, and Bachman’s latest flows with that same kind of freedom, a clever, vivid album from a guitar virtuoso who is only just coming into his own. Listen below.
River is out 5/19 on Three Lobed Recordings. Pre-order it here.