Daniel Bachman

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Daniel Bachman is a virtuoso American fingerstyle guitarist, experimental musician, and field recordist from Fredericksburg, Virginia. He calls his own style of music-making “psychedelic Appalachia”; it is displayed abundantly on a series of cassettes and limited-edition vinyl that began when he was 17, including Grey-Black-Green and Oh Be Joyful as well as Of Deathly Premonitions, a collaborative recording with Ryley Walker. Since delivering a pair of albums for Tompkins Square in 2012 (Seven Pines) and 2013 (Jesus I'm a Sinner), Bachman has expanded his approach to include various Southern blues styles, ragtime, raga, and deep folk, as evidenced by the solo guitar outing River in 2015. Bachman began playing the guitar before he was 10, and fell under the sway of banjo music, drone, and the American Primitive techniques pioneered by John Fahey, Robbie Basho, Peter Lang, and others recorded by Takoma Records, as well as Glenn Jones and Jack Rose — the latter also hailed from Fredericksburg. Bachman was a prodigy and began touring — often with Rose — while still in high school. His earliest records, Apparitions at the Kenmore Plantation and Feast of the Green Corn, were released as homemade cassettes in 2010 under the moniker Sacred Harp. Both used the American Primitive approach and experimentally combined it with drones and psychedelic sounds. In 2011, he issued a split cassette with guitarist Ryley Walker titled Of Deathly Premonitions on Plus Tapes, and his own Grey-Black-Green on Debacle. In 2012, he released a collaborative album with vanguard composer and multi-instrumentalist Ian G. McColm — another fellow Virginian — titled Taman Shud. Bachman signed to Tompkins Square that same year. His debut for the label, Seven Pines, was a much more traditional offering and won global acclaim. He followed it in 2013 with Jesus I'm a Sinner. Equally well-received, it made him a mainstay on the club circuit and garnered him prime placement on folk and experimental music festival stages. It was followed in 2014 by Orange Co. Serenade on Bathetic and a self-titled set on Lancashire & Somerset. His next offering, River, was a double album recorded by Brian Haran at Pinebox in North Carolina and mastered by Patrick Klem. It was selected as an NPR First Listen title and appeared in the spring of 2015 from Three Lobed Recordings. He followed it a year later with a self-titled seven-track set on the same label. Recorded by Brian Haran, the guitarist (who also played a shruti box), was only selectively accompanied by Forrest Marquisee on “octotone.” The album was issued in early November. In its aftermath, he left his multi-year residence in the North Carolina Triangle area to return to his native Virginia. While he did some touring, Bachman spent many of those years taking stock of where he’d been and what was happening to America after Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential win, and he explored and integrated the various changes his music was undergoing. He opted for an expansive sonic journey that used virtually all musical elements from his career to date, including field recordings and ghostly AM radio transmissions, drones, and sparse and spiky guitar playing, all employed in an attempt to erase genre boundaries in his work. Entitled Morning Star, it was recorded with a small host of collaborators. Its seven pieces embodied long-form, side-long compositions made almost exclusively of drones, ensemble pieces, atmospheric solo guitar meditations, and more traditional fare. Morning Star was released in the mid-summer of 2018 on Three Lobed. ~ Thom Jurek