Back in 2012, Craig Finn took time off from his main gig as frontman for the Hold Steady to release Clear Heart Full Eyes, his first-ever solo album. And now that the Hold Steady are done touring behind their great 2014 album Teeth Dreams, he’s done it again. Working with producer Josh Kaufman in Woodstock, New York, Finn has put together a new LP called Faith In The Future. First single “Newmyer’s Roof” is diffuse and synthy, a departure from the rustic Americana sound of Finn’s last album. It’s about how he watched the World Trade Center fall while sitting on his friend’s rooftop, shortly after arriving in New York. The song has a fascinating story behind it, and you can hear it and read what Finn has to say about it below.
I moved to NYC on September 15, 2000.
Just less than a year later came the terrible events of September 11, 2001. I was working at an office in Union Square and my friend and boss Chris Newmyer suggested we come to his apartment on 2nd Avenue in the East Village. We could see the towers from the roof he said.
We went up there and saw the towers burn and then collapse. At some point he suggested we get some beer. I didn’t know what to feel that day, most of us had no emotion to access. So we got some beer, and drank them while watching the World Trade Center go down. It sounds detached now, but at the time it made sense on a day when nothing else made sense. I spent some years after that in darkness.
There was a girl in the 33rd floor of one of the towers that was a receptionist at an investment bank. She went to work that day and when the plane hit they asked her to stay where she was. They said it was safest. She decided against that and walked out of the towers and, like the rest of us, did her best to get on with her life.
Some years later I went to a birthday party. I talked to this girl. We talked all night. We fell in love and are still together. I came out of the darkness. I’m glad she didn’t do what they told her to do.
“Newmyer’s Roof” isn’t about this exactly. It’s a song about believing that something better is coming. It’s a song about light after darkness. It’s about Faith in the Future.