The Lineup


Daniel Bachman

Fredricksburg, Va.

Daniel Bachman

During the past decade, the unadorned acoustic guitar has experienced a wondrous renaissance. The best evidence might be a long-running series of LPs called Imaginational Anthem, released by the roots-and-extreme-branches label Tompkins Square Records. On these compilations, tunes of past masters of the guitar, from obvious heroes such as John Fahey to the rediscovered Max Ochs, sit alongside new cadres of pickers, from Nashville’s whirlwind maestro William Tyler to arid New York player Steve Gunn. On last year’s Volume Five, one name in particular stood out—Daniel Bachman, who contributed a spiraling, clanging beauty named “Confederate Rose.”

Turns out, Bachman, only 22, had been doing this for the better part of a decade, turning his strings into solemn meditations on existence or emphatic explorations of the same. Discovery made, Tompkins Square recruited Bachman for his first widely distributed LP, last year’s phenomenal Seven Pines. Bachman had spent some time in Philadelphia, so don’t be surprised if you hear traces of late picker Jack Rose in his work. Like Rose, Bachman is capable of gentle, assured gallops (the closing “218 to Caledon” feels like a Fall drive with an old friend) and swelling, overwhelming blooms (the title track starts quietly enough, but at its middle and most heated, Bachman lashes at his strings like a symphonic Bill Orcutt). It’s not actually Bachman’s debut, but it is a sort of public arrival, an introduction to a musician poised to explore an old form in ways both reverent and newly inspired.

Bachman is a road dog, too, keeping busy with tours and travels that seem to inspire the variety and vitality of his oeuvre. By the time he plays Hopscotch in September, his widespread introduction will have been about a year behind him, a year that’s found him push toward the front of this renewed acoustic scene. With wonder, we can only imagine what the years ahead—you know, the ones that will take him toward the wizened age of 25—might hold. —Grayson Currin