Chris Bathgate 2009
as overwrought on the inside as he expresses in his music, I feel sorry for the guy.
Not that Bathgate isn't generating buzz. A new EP, Wait, Skeleton, was released last year as a digital download card at 7,000 Starbucks-the first artist from a small label (Michigan's Quite Scientific Records) to land a spot in this promotion. His song "Serpentine" was chosen as "Song of the Day" by NPR Music in January 2008. He was selected "Best Solo Artist in Michigan" in 2006 by Real Detroit Weekly. And his young fans, in vintage cotton dresses, sing along with all the words at his acoustic performances.
But do they know what he's singing about? Bathgate likes the sounds of words and cooks up poetic lines like "for every gray and sad hemmed heart to coil" and "the frost leaves sounded like glass" and "I held you there in the rose tint click when the street lights dim." Beyond these compelling images, though, he's not much inclined to clue the listener in to his meaning. Only one song, "Do What's Easy," offers an accessible story-that of the wasted, angry life of an alcoholic. That kind of clarity makes me guess he has a lot of wisdom to share.