There are beautiful arrangement touches throughout the album, and Bathgate and his band manage to re-create most of them in their live shows—drum phrases bouncing from left to right speaker (cleverly replicated on stage with extra tom-toms and an auxiliary drummer), guitar notes fading in, mimicking the sound of a pedal steel, gorgeous unison trumpet and trombone blends, with a violin delicately curling and twining around their full-bodied sound. Bathgate and his top-notch band, though not averse to occasional choreographed rock ’n’ roll deep knee bends on stage, generate their excitement with the intensity with which they play this great material.
Bathgate’s music is a testament to the spirit, as he sings repeatedly in the title tune, of “try again, try again.” It’s not so much music to accompany drowning your sorrows, as it is music that rises—and raises—from the depths, breaks the surface, and breathes and lives.
Chris Bathgate headlines a show at Woodruff’s on Friday, November 4.
[Originally published in November, 2011.]