Thursday, January 21, 2016

Chris Bathgate

Chris Bathgate performs tomorrow at the Ark in Ann Arbor

7:30 pm
The Ark 
316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor, MI
(734) 761-1800

Having grown up between Iowa and Illinois, young Bathgate started playing guitar and singing around the turn of the century, when he located to Ann Arbor for studies in art and design at Univ. of Michigan. He became a fixture in the Arbor/Ypsilanti music scene with his first two bands and his initial solo performances in the early 2000’s.

Bathgate’s acclaim went international, though, in 2008, when he signed with Michigan-based Quite Scientific Records for the release of A Cork Tale Wake, with the cinematic, subtle, and yet utter show-stopping piano ballad “Serpentine” winning praise both from the BBC and The Independent (UK). His 2011 follow-up took an unintended three years as Bathgate wound up scrapping-and-restarting Salt Year, several times. Regardless, it only expanded his following nationally, leading to a memorable Tiny Desk Concert on NPR’s All Songs Considered.

At what seemed like a height, Bathgate climbed back down for a couple years, starting in 2012, with a quasi-hiatus (at least breaking from touring), to work as a teacher for U-M’s New England Literature Program out near Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. Though he restarted touring in 2014, it should be noted that Bathgate never ceased writing or recording music.

He’ll deflect you with modesty and self-deprecation, but Bathgate’s music, particularly on this latest, Old Factory, is a powerful conduit of all those goosebump-inducing, sigh-exerting, watery-eyed sensations comprising the human experience; the soul’s expanded gaze into the bigger picture’s full frame.

The 33-year-old currently calls Grand Rapids home. This month marks not only the release of Old Factory, but also the beginning of a Midwest/east coast tour and the revelation that he’s already at work on future recordings.  The Free Press spoke with Bathgate about his lyrics, his patience and the importance of legacy, not just his own but every musician’s.


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