Sunday, April 17, 2011

Chris Bathgate

I love the type of people who love what they do so much that they will work incredibly hard and make sacrifices just so they can do that very thing. Chris Bathgate is one of them. I recently downloaded his song "No Silver" (free download) and have been putting it on repeat over and over. From the sounds of his rumbly voice to the washboard to the mandolin, each give this song such a down-to-earth yet full and rich sound.

What's more, read about how this song came to be (found on MOKB):
[I] wrote this song…after a dinner of homemade biscuits. Flour, butter, and milk were the only things I had left in the house to eat. I had gotten home with the gas light on, driving without insurance (which means your license gets taken away in MI if you get caught), dead broke, not knowing how I was going to get the gas to get to work in the morning. I was getting paid that Friday, and every cent of it was going to my studio bill. It was the first of many moments of total financial collapse during “the salt year.” I think I sang it out of joyful fear, I was gonna make my studio bill, but nothing else. At the time that was enough.
I used to get this fear when I ran out of money, as if my heart would stop, as if I was coming closer to death. I got over this fear real quick, I didn’t have a choice. This past CMJ (2010), I had enough money to make it there, but not enough to make it back. I went, and lasted until the Monday after (I had a post-CMJ show at The Delancey, a free one). I put my last 4 bucks on a metrocard, and went to Central Park. There, I played fiddle tunes (on mandolin) for 8 hours straight, and made 128 bucks in quarters, nickels, and dimes. My left hand was wretched that night, and the following morning when I drove home. I had 2 bucks left when I got back to Michigan…after gas and tolls. This is typically how close to the edge I have to operate as a musician. I eat biscuits, and people all over the world send me nice messages, explaining how much they love my music. When I was recording this song, that hopeless excited feeling came back. I dumped a few cracked cymbals on the floor of Jim Roll’s studio and started smashing away a kick drum, and a washboard. I wanted No Silver to sound broke, broken and exhilarated.

If that doesn't inspire you, listen to the song yourself:

 His new album Salt Year, which will include "No Silver," comes out April 26th.

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