Review: Crooked Fingers – Reservoir Songs II

Eric Bachmann and crew return with another EP of cover songs, in the tradition of the first Reservoir Songs EP released in 2002.  This album contains Bachmann’s signature gravelly voice over a variation of musical arrangements.  Such experimentation has been a Crooked Fingers constant and it especially works for Reservoir Songs II in which they cover half a dozen songs, equally varied in style.

I am not as familiar with the originals on this EP as with the last one.  On one hand, this takes away the fun of a covers album as it is interesting to be presented with a new take on songs  you have an existing relationship with.  On the other hand this should allow me to listen and enjoy more objectively.  But then again, how do I know whether my response to the songs are attributable to the original writing or to Crooked Fingers’ interpretation?  I guess in the end it doesn’t really matter who gets “credit”.  This is not a vote for prom queen and I’m not cutting any cheques, so just shut up and listen and enjoy.

I think the most interesting aspect of this EP is the decision to use Kickstarter.  I love the concept of gauging interest before investing in the project and it is a model that makes sense for both established and unestablished artists.  This is a similar approach to what Paul F. Tompkins is doing with his stand-up comedy shows through the Tompkins 300 series on Facebook.  For an established artist like Crooked Fingers I think Kickstarter provides a new way to connect with fans and allow them to participate in the process.

So what about the music?

  • Shelly’s Winter Love (Merle Haggard) – Classic Crooked Fingers, sounds right off of Bring on the Snakes
  • I Am Not Willing (Moby Grape) – Bit of a late-era Archers of Loaf feeling to the music but much nicer vocally
  • Gentle On My Mind (John Hartford) – A picky-plucky guitar song, up there with the best from Eric Bachmann’s most recent solo album To The Races
  • Wild One (Thin Lizzy) – Moody, piano driven with haunting vocals – the least interesting song on the album by far
  • Black Rose (Billy Joe Shaver) – Soft and dreamy
  • Strangers (The Kinks) – Electro drumming backbeat is not my favourite approach, but true to the spirit of the Kinks and fun nonetheless

I did not find this EP as immediately engaging as the last one, but as with all Crooked Fingers albums the more you give to it the more it gives back.  It’s too late to back the project, but go see them live and pick up some merch.


About OneGoodMinute
Blogging about the fun and interesting things in life. Nerd stuff - movies, music, comedy, podcasts Social Media - Documenting my way through social media, blogging and online promotion. Learn from my experiences, mistakes and successes.

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