I'm marking it down - the weekend of January 25, 2003 is the weekend I fell in love with Crooked Fingers. It's taken me long enough - my friend Chris has been trying to get me to listen to them for two years now, but I'm a little slow on the uptake sometimes. Their new album "Red Devil Dawn" is a beautiful showcase for Eric Bachmann's gruff voice (sandpapery, where Tom Waits would be gravelly) set over cello, upright bass, mandolin, lap steel, and trumpets distantly reminiscent of Calexico. Maybe it's just that I'm hearing it at exactly the right time, but there's something about these songs - these beautiful songs - that awakens in me feelings I'd forgotten I had. I have listened to this album 15 times this weekend, and I'm not tired of it yet. Live, they have no fear of stripping it way, way down, stepping out into the audience with no amplification, with naught but a banjo and upright bass.
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