A small part of me was surprised to hear Chris Bathgate is turning 30… I mean, only-just-now-30.
It’s that small part of me still frozen in this amber idealization of my college da(z)y(e) spent ever-traipsing across campus with walkman/headphones on, having sweet/tumultuous melodies soundtrack my daily return home from classes to that dusty 7’x7’ room at my echoey Co-Op house.
It wasn’t some delusional part of me that wouldn’t accept that this molder of post-folk masterpieces was only, actually, two years older than I… I could take myself back to those days, fresh out of college, or even still in them, when I first started listening to the man.
It was back to a time when I felt small, transient; I felt like I was on the wind and I felt like music was the one solid, the bigger, tangible, comforting, everything-and-everywhere-sort-of-element – and it was that Bathgate seemed to be communicating through it so powerfully, so effectively, that I saw him, heard him, as something profoundly sagacious, inside the form of a song.
Bathgate’s voice…the beautiful gloom to the lilt of his dusky lullabies…he sounded like a man who’d seen the end of the world already; the mellifluous voice of the future’s ghost, coming back to us on winds, whooshing back with a muted jangle and warm, brassy purr; not to alarm us or warn us, but to comfort us.
That voice had been there and back. It had been to 2012 already and came back to me in 2007, a woozy waltzing voice that had dirt under its fingernails and hush you with the quieting beauty of its half/wounded-half/resolute oomph and stomp.
And now it’s like, wow, that voice is still so young!
Why not throw a birthday party for it? (April 21 @ the Blind Pig – Matt Jones & the Reconstruction and, from Philadelphia – Chris Kasper, are opening up this concert, with Mr. Bathgate (if he isn’t legless by midnight) headlining the night, backed up by a cast of longtime collaborators and friends.
“I’d like to capture 10% of that beauty…” says Frank Woodman, Detroit-based singer/songwriter, just a couple hours before he took the stage at the Magic Stick to perform a few of Bathgate’s songs – part of the scene-celebratory shindig Detroit By Detroit.
Indeed. Woodman’s a reverent music fan – in fact, his darkly-fuzzed folk-style still sounds like a distant cousin to the same tract Bathgate’s been tilling – only Frank lent more towards a Mazzy Star dark-n-dreamy mixture while Bathgate was probably that of a flannelled, Neil Young rasp. Whatever the case, Bathgate spoke to Woodman in a similarly stirring manner.
But with me being in Detroit, inevitably I know his music more than I know the man, Bathgate that is…and I mean, really know him… Well…anyways…Perhaps the cliché I’m dancing around is – timeless music transcends age markers, even one as ominous for a Gen-Y/Millennial, such as 30…
Here’s to another good Salt Year.