Sparseness of arrangement can be readily forgiven when you have a set of songs as strong as on To the Races.
Eric Bachmann – To the Races.
Apparently Eric Bachmann wrote To the Races in the back of his camper van and recorded it in a hotel room in North Carolina. If that is so, and I have no reason to doubt him, it certainly explains the sparse, almost threadbare nature of the arrangements on this LP. Perhaps Mr Bachmann wanted just to get away from it all, and commune with the Great Outdoors.
Whatever the reason, he's created a very beautiful album. Sparseness of arrangement, (for the record, violin, piano, acoustic guitar and occasional backing vocal) can be readily forgiven when you have a set of songs as strong as on To the Races. Opener Man O' War is a truly beautiful travelogue, a lullaby that gently rolls like a ship at anchor in the harbour.
Other gems are Carbaro Woman, which is a classic dialogue in the best Crosby-an acoustic tradition and the title track which is a pleasant jig with a wonderful violin accompaniment. Liars and Thieves shows off some very beautiful guitar playing that is totally at odds with the very embittered, angry lyrics.
But really, it isn't fair to pick out tracks in an album like this. The whole LP is a delight to listen to and if camp-fire strumming is your thing, well I strongly suggest that you check this album out.
Words: Richard Foster.