Craig Finn “Honolulu Blues”
Craig Finn has always been a storyteller. From his days in the Twin Cities punk group Lifter Puller to his time with the Hold Steady, he has a well-earned reputation for musical narrative. Finn remains one of the best chroniclers of seedy midwest townies, teenage freaks and lovers, re-lapsed Catholics and other druggy, down-and-out denizens of America’s underbelly. Taking a break from the Hold Steady, today Finn releases his first solo record Clear Heart Full Eyes.
On Clear Heart Full Eyes Finn trades the Hold Steady’s barroom bluster for something a bit more quiet and textured. There’s hints of blues, psych and even of country. That may have something to do where he recorded Clear Heart: right here in Austin. Finn called upon acclaimed local producer Mike McCarthy to helm the record and enlisted the help of a crackerjack group of Austinite musicians to perform it. The good ol’ story songs are still there, and the added aural space gives Finn’s signature lyrical verbosity and literary name-dropping room to breathe. To whit, here’s a lyrical sampling from “Honolulu Blues,” today’s song of the day: “Joan Didion and Graham Greene. Said roughly the same thing. You bring your Jesus to the jungle. Try to teach people to sing All the hymns that you love because you learned them as a kid and they make perfect sense to you. There’s a point in time when thousands die. And you’ve got to maybe think that maybe Jesus isn’t getting through.”
That’s the allure of Finn and his songs. They manage to be street wise and book smart, full of faith and lost faith. His tunes are proof that even down the darkest alleys the light of rock and roll is still smoldering.