Crooked FIngers drops Forfeit/Fortune with a unique indie-only distribution model

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:: Crooked Fingers ::
 :: Bluebird Theater :: October 19 ::

By Timothy Dwenger

crooked-fingers.jpg
It’s been three years since the gravelly-voiced wordsmith Eric Bachmann dropped a Crooked Fingers record on his adoring fans and for many it’s been much too long. He’s done his best to pacify the masses by touring as a solo act and releasing To The Races, the stellar stripped-down solo record that won critical acclaim, but now he’s finally back with a full band for the Crooked Fingers record that will leave many who weren’t “in the know” scrambling for his back catalogue.

Forfeit/Fortune is “sort of a finishing of the last Crooked Fingers record, Dignity and Shame,” said the group’s creative mastermind Eric Bachmann in a recent interview with The Marquee. “Dignity and Shame is really just the major stuff and this record has a lot more minor keys because a lot of the darker songs were taken off of Dignity and Shame and actually ended up on this record. I guess this is more the shame half of it.”

Despite how Bachmann characterizes the album, it kicks off with a very upbeat horn-laden track that will have critics rehashing overused Neil Diamond comparisons for the next year or so. As the album progresses, Bachmann uses all the weapons in his vast arsenal to show his amazing command of songwriting and arrangement. From beautiful horn and string parts to electronic drums and strong female vocals, he achieves an eclectic sound that keeps the listener guessing right up until the final moments of the album.

Those final moments are highlighted by some of the finest music on the record and though he prefers to downplay the importance of the album’s closing duet with Neko Case, it is impossible to ignore it. From the big drums that command attention right from the outset, to the powerful harmonies and strong songwriting that dominate the song, “Your Control,” has all the markings of a hit and may very well end up as a single despite Bachmann’s initial feelings. “The first single will be a different song because I told them to back off a bit on [“Your Control”] because I don’t want to exploit the fact that Neko Case is on there. She’s a real dear friend but I’d rather do it on my own merits,” he said.

When Forfeit/Fortune hits shelves this month it is sure to cause a little bit of a stir with its striking artwork. The image of two naked dancers wearing masks may sound a bit like a strange fetish but be assured this is nothing short of a beautiful artistic statement. “I had the idea for the two dancers but it was going to be a small inlay on a greater piece,” said Bachmann. “When we took the picture and got the prints back we looked at it and said, ‘That shouldn’t be screwed with, let’s leave that alone.’” While it may be racy to some who don’t get it, Bachmann won’t have to deal with the likes of Wal-Mart or other big retailers censoring his product because, in a unique move for an established artist, he won’t be dealing with any big retailers at all.

Bachmann has decided to forgo the traditional method of releasing an album through a label and distribution firms by only making this record available to 24 independent record stores around the country. “When I say 24 stores, one is, for example, Newbury Comics in Massachusetts and they have 26 stores. So, in that case, one store is really 26 stores throughout the New England area so it ends up being bigger than it sounds,” he said.

Some may think it is strange that at this point in his career, as each album seems to get more and more attention, Bachmann has decided to turn his back on the record companies. However, he is quick to put that idea to rest with very complimentary words about the labels that he has worked with over the last eight years. “It’s a weird thing to be so lucky to have labels like Warm, Merge and Saddle Creek put out your records and then not work with them because they are so great and I still think they are great and I don’t want to discount the idea that I might work with them again.”

It seems that after extensive research and deliberation that Bachmann has realized that this is the way to go, at least for this record, and in this age of digital releases and “pay what you want” pricing concepts, this “indie only” idea is not too far fetched and might just work. “If you look at the numbers, we should at least break even and I’m being really conservative. Even if I sell half or less than half of what I usually sell, we’ll break even,” said Bachmann before elaborating. “We don’t sell that many records through bigger distribution circuits anyway. We do them mostly through independent stores. If you look at the stats, all the people that buy my records shop at indie record stores.”

In keeping with this grassroots marketing idea, Bachmann and his manger Ben Dickey are in the process of trying to schedule some in-store performances to coincide with tour stops along the way. “In-stores obviously coincide quite well with a plan like this, so if there is time we will do a lot of in-stores,” said Bachmann.

Joining Bachmann on the road this fall will be three very accomplished musicians that he is thrilled to be working with. “There is a woman from Austin Texas named Miranda Brown who will be playing bass. She sang on the last solo record I did and she’s been touring with me a lot. She’s just great,” he said. “Elin Palmer will play violin as well as trigger samples, sing and play some percussion. Finally, Tim Hussman from Dust on the Breakers will be playing the drums so that makes it a four-piece.”

Together, as Crooked Fingers, Bachmann and these musicians will captivate fans in venues around the country this fall with their eclectic folk rock sound that is just as likely to have you joyfully singing along as it is to coax a tear from your eye.

:: Crooked Fingers ::
:: Bluebird Theater :: October 19 ::

Recommended if you Like:
• Bruce Springsteen
• Lou Barlow
• Tom Waits
Crooked FIngers drops Forfeit/Fortune with a unique indie-only distribution model
By Timothy Dwenger

It’s been three years since the gravelly-voiced wordsmith Eric Bachmann dropped a Crooked Fingers record on his adoring fans and for many it’s been much too long. He’s done his best to pacify the masses by touring as a solo act and releasing To The Races, the stellar stripped-down solo record that won critical acclaim, but now he’s finally back with a full band for the Crooked Fingers record that will leave many who weren’t “in the know” scrambling for his back catalogue.

Forfeit/Fortune is “sort of a finishing of the last Crooked Fingers record, Dignity and Shame,” said the group’s creative mastermind Eric Bachmann in a recent interview with The Marquee. “Dignity and Shame is really just the major stuff and this record has a lot more minor keys because a lot of the darker songs were taken off of Dignity and Shame and actually ended up on this record. I guess this is more the shame half of it.”

Despite how Bachmann characterizes the album, it kicks off with a very upbeat horn-laden track that will have critics rehashing overused Neil Diamond comparisons for the next year or so. As the album progresses, Bachmann uses all the weapons in his vast arsenal to show his amazing command of songwriting and arrangement. From beautiful horn and string parts to electronic drums and strong female vocals, he achieves an eclectic sound that keeps the listener guessing right up until the final moments of the album.

Those final moments are highlighted by some of the finest music on the record and though he prefers to downplay the importance of the album’s closing duet with Neko Case, it is impossible to ignore it. From the big drums that command attention right from the outset, to the powerful harmonies and strong songwriting that dominate the song, “Your Control,” has all the markings of a hit and may very well end up as a single despite Bachmann’s initial feelings. “The first single will be a different song because I told them to back off a bit on [“Your Control”] because I don’t want to exploit the fact that Neko Case is on there. She’s a real dear friend but I’d rather do it on my own merits,” he said.

When Forfeit/Fortune hits shelves this month it is sure to cause a little bit of a stir with its striking artwork. The image of two naked dancers wearing masks may sound a bit like a strange fetish but be assured this is nothing short of a beautiful artistic statement. “I had the idea for the two dancers but it was going to be a small inlay on a greater piece,” said Bachmann. “When we took the picture and got the prints back we looked at it and said, ‘That shouldn’t be screwed with, let’s leave that alone.’” While it may be racy to some who don’t get it, Bachmann won’t have to deal with the likes of Wal-Mart or other big retailers censoring his product because, in a unique move for an established artist, he won’t be dealing with any big retailers at all.

Bachmann has decided to forgo the traditional method of releasing an album through a label and distribution firms by only making this record available to 24 independent record stores around the country. “When I say 24 stores, one is, for example, Newbury Comics in Massachusetts and they have 26 stores. So, in that case, one store is really 26 stores throughout the New England area so it ends up being bigger than it sounds,” he said.

Some may think it is strange that at this point in his career, as each album seems to get more and more attention, Bachmann has decided to turn his back on the record companies. However, he is quick to put that idea to rest with very complimentary words about the labels that he has worked with over the last eight years. “It’s a weird thing to be so lucky to have labels like Warm, Merge and Saddle Creek put out your records and then not work with them because they are so great and I still think they are great and I don’t want to discount the idea that I might work with them again.”

It seems that after extensive research and deliberation that Bachmann has realized that this is the way to go, at least for this record, and in this age of digital releases and “pay what you want” pricing concepts, this “indie only” idea is not too far fetched and might just work. “If you look at the numbers, we should at least break even and I’m being really conservative. Even if I sell half or less than half of what I usually sell, we’ll break even,” said Bachmann before elaborating. “We don’t sell that many records through bigger distribution circuits anyway. We do them mostly through independent stores. If you look at the stats, all the people that buy my records shop at indie record stores.”

In keeping with this grassroots marketing idea, Bachmann and his manger Ben Dickey are in the process of trying to schedule some in-store performances to coincide with tour stops along the way. “In-stores obviously coincide quite well with a plan like this, so if there is time we will do a lot of in-stores,” said Bachmann.

Joining Bachmann on the road this fall will be three very accomplished musicians that he is thrilled to be working with. “There is a woman from Austin Texas named Miranda Brown who will be playing bass. She sang on the last solo record I did and she’s been touring with me a lot. She’s just great,” he said. “Elin Palmer will play violin as well as trigger samples, sing and play some percussion. Finally, Tim Hussman from Dust on the Breakers will be playing the drums so that makes it a four-piece.”

Together, as Crooked Fingers, Bachmann and these musicians will captivate fans in venues around the country this fall with their eclectic folk rock sound that is just as likely to have you joyfully singing along as it is to coax a tear from your eye.

:: Crooked Fingers ::
:: Bluebird Theater :: October 19 ::

Recommended if you Like:
• Bruce Springsteen
• Lou Barlow
• Tom Waits

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