Incredible Craig Finn Solo Acoustic Set
Craig Finn, the genius behind both Lifter Puller and the Hold Steady, went on Minnesota Public Radio’s show “Wits” on April 15th (writer/pop critic/weirdo Chuck Klosterman was also a guest). Finn played three songs on the show, songs that he said he’d never played for anyone before, “they aren’t really Hold Steady songs.” You can watch him perform (backed by an upright bass, vibraphone, and steel pedal) one of them below. It’s called “One Single Saviour.”
The song is beautiful. No idea if this will lead to a solo album from Finn or new Hold Steady material or what––I’d be thrilled with either––but I cannot stop listening to this YouTube video. Lyrically, “One Single Saviour” is classic Finn, at once sweeping and small-scale. It’s got that strange, hair-raising blend of larger-than-life religious allusions (“I took two steps into the darkness”) and dirty, hard-luck admissions (“I turned my back on the business/ I quit picking up shipments). The instrumentation, though, is unlike anything I’ve heard from Finn before. There is something––it’s hard to describe––so soothing and wonderful about hearing and seeing Finn perform like this. It’s soft, the sort of song that, now that I’m hearing it, I can picture him writing on his own on a Sunday night, pencil in his teeth, guitar on the his lap. I’m still unsure what “One Single Saviour” is about, but there are images that I find so strong and so important. “So pull a chair up to the bed/ put your hands up to my neck/ put my mouth up to your broken wing/ listen to the songs that I sing,” the narrator says, sadly, and then: “These are all the songs that really got to me/ you an me both/ as we wait in joyful hope/ deliver us lord from our anxiety.” Simple as that. These are all the songs that really got to me.