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Bill Bachmann - Big World Out There

Big World Out There

Bill Bachmann

Available from CD Baby.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

With that huge sense of humor so evident in every moment of Big World Out There, Bill himself will appreciate that I first caught his surname and thought "Cool! A Randy Bachman CD!"…then looked again and thought "Who the hell is *Bill* Bachmann?" Well, now I know and you should too. This guy has an extremely clever way with lyrics, first of all, and, in a world of facile versifying, that's a huge relief. Take the first stanza from Just Shoot Me I Hate My Life I Wish I'd Never Been Born Blues:

I woke up this morning, put my fist through the alarm
Ate a raw steak for breakfast, tattoed an FU on my arm
I demolished my computers until they looked like one big slinky
Then I quit my job and told my boss to go to Helsinki
I had those just shoot me I hate my life I wish I'd never been born blues

And, trust me, as gratifying, rib tickling, and familiar as that is (and, man, I had a LOT of those days when I was in the aerospace community!), it's just the tip of the iceberg. Satire, turns of phrase, parody, and outright guffaws are packed into this CD, even in the charmingly odd ballads like Bad Blood:

She sees them circling, he sees them squared-in
No middle ground, tempers are flaring
She says it's white, he says black
Some say opposites tend to attack

Bachmann plays and sings everything, wrote it all, and recorded every moment, save for Alyssa Bachmann's backing vocals on four cuts. I'm strongly reminded of John Sebastian's work in many ways, though John was never this wacky, and Bill veers out a lot further than him on tracks like Upstate Town, a long haunting song that blends folk with semi-classical, ambient, and progressive airs. All this explains why Jon Sholle, Matt Glaser, and others have guested him on guitar and why he's opened for Dave Van Ronk, Steve Goodman, and the like. And of course who can forget his galaxies-famed work with George Gerdes and His All-Male Vegetarian Orchestra? Heh, even the guy's copyright is clever: Flight of the BumBillB Records.

This is a completely one-man venture ('ceptin' them backing vocals), an in-home DIY accomplishment, a true exposition of Martha Graham's Rule of One; thus, don't expect spitshine in the engineering. Instead, you get a far more ruralian Seeger / Guthrie documentation…even though it was probably done in some goldang big city…and there are a few weaknesses in Bachmann's singing voice here and there, but I dare ya to find a release quite the equal of this. And you'll have to do so on your own, 'cause I ain't lettin' loose of my copy.

Track List:

  • Big World Out There
  • Just Shoot Me I Hate My Life I Wish I'd Never Been Born Blues
  • Bad Blood
  • Closet Closet
  • Upstate Towns
  • This Band was Your Band
  • Reds that Cincinnati Came to See
  • Vacation
  • A More Perfect Union 11/4/08
  • The Ballad of Townes Van Crier and Pasqualina
  • Giant Can of Paint
  • It Won't be Long
  • This Song is Called This Song is Called
  • So Much Time, So Little to Do
  • One Great Date
All songs written by Bill Bachmann.

Edited by: David N. Pyles


Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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