BioReturning home from tour to no commonly-defined home, Eric Bachmann largely wrote his new album, To The Races, in June and July of 2005 while voluntarily living in the back of his van. Bachmann made the best of the hospitable Northwestern summer by setting up home and shop in his vehicle, and found that living like a makeshift Siddhartha worked well for him: he used the time to craft the unadorned and unapologetically forthright collection of songs that compose his first Saddle Creek release.
Whereas Bachmann's 2005 release, Crooked Fingers' Dignity and Shame, was perhaps his most poppy and immediately accessible album, To the Races is his most sparse and reflective. Stepping out from under the cover of a band name, To The Races marks Bachmann's proper eponymous debut, and the music echoes the change to a more direct, spartan approach. Self-recorded in a hotel in the Outer Banks town of Buxton, NC, these songs reveal an expert songwriter further honing his craft after more than a dozen releases.
Bachmann's warm vocals and deceptively simple arrangements keep the song's quiet elegance ardent and complete, only occasionally augmented by Miranda Brown's angelic harmonies or Tom Hagerman's (Devotchka) haunting violin. From the gently urgent opening notes of "Man O' War" to the quiet guitar strum and soothing piano line of "Little Bird," To The Races tells familiar but rarely as well-articulated stories of self-imposed or unintentional isolation and the common search for--or escape from--some kind of sanctuary.