Craig Bickhardt | Home for the Harvest

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United States - Pennsylvania

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Folk: Singer/Songwriter Folk: Alternative Folk Moods: Featuring Guitar
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Home for the Harvest

by Craig Bickhardt

Bare-bones, Singer-Songwriter music at its best by a veteran artist whose songs have been covered by Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Poco, David Wilcox, Kathy Mattea, Alison Krauss, Art Garfunkel, Randy Meisner (original Eagles member), B. B. King, and others.
Genre: Folk: Singer/Songwriter
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Steady as She Goes
3:31 $0.99
2. The Way You Loved Me
3:50 $0.99
3. Old Maid's Man
4:07 $0.99
4. Racing the Bullet
3:29 $0.99
5. Greener Past
4:05 $0.99
6. Chesapeake Bay
3:56 $0.99
7. I'm Sure the Rain
3:18 $0.99
8. It Takes a Winding Road
3:44 $0.99
9. West of Wherever You Are
3:46 $0.99
10. Home for the Harvest
3:41 $0.99
11. You Take Me Home
3:40 $0.99
12. One Little Light
4:05 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
With his latest release, HOME FOR THE HARVEST, Craig Bickhardt demonstrates that folk music needn't be musically dull or iterative. Always in search of forms that challenge not only his songwriting abilities but also his considerable guitar chops and vocal skills, Bickhardt's accessible style is nearly unparalleled in the genre today. There are singers and there are pickers and there are song poets, but very few do all three as well as this.

The collection is brimming with characters and stories that confront the evolving perceptions of life from its idealistic embarkation in the opening track, “Steady As She Goes” (co-written with Barry Alfonso), to its somewhat disillusioned awakening in “Greener Past” where the narrator admits that he and his brother were “two chips from the same rose colored glass”. In the bookend songs "Old Maid's Man" (also co-written with Mr. Alfonso) and "One Little Light", Bickhardt, who turns 64 this year, paints two very different portraits of the elderly with equal compassion; one for the late blooming romance of a pair of timidly matched septuagenarians and one for the terrible lot of a bereft widow losing her last hope and comfort, her eyesight, only to find temporary salvation in the form of a young girl who comes to read to her.

The subtle production elements never cloud the water or compete for attention. A few of the cuts are solo performances. On others Bickhardt shares the soundscape with only one additional instrument: an insinuating mandolin played by Andy Leftwich on "Racing The Bullet”; Catherine Styron's hymn-like Hammond organ on "I'm Sure The Rain"; or Byron House's fluid acoustic bass on "West Of Wherever You Are". Those familiar with Bickhardt's previous five CDs will be happy to see the names of longstanding song collaborators Thom Schuyler, the aforementioned Barry Alfonso, F. C. Collins and Nathan Bell, as well as his audio scrupulous engineer and sideman John Mock. They will also be aware of his pedigree as a tune tailor for the likes of Johnny Cash, Allison Krauss, B. B. King, Kathy Mattea, David Wilcox, Tony Rice and others. However, these are quite obviously the songs he held back and culled for his personal projects. It’s safe to say we are none the poorer because he decided to release them now.

Bickhardt has never been one to follow trends or take a sidelong glance at what the herd is doing. Even during his days on Music Row he was considered an outlier of sorts, refusing to feed the machinery or get stuck on the tune treadmill. He left Nashville in 2006 just before it became the Mecca of mediocrity it is today. If anything, these songs, rather than balancing on the cutting edge, seem to be preserved in some kind of musical amber. The aforementioned "Old Maid's Man", for example, sounds as if it could have been a track on Dan Fogelberg's 1972 debut “Home Free”. Yet it's as sonically fresh today as it might have been then. On "The Way You Loved Me" he evokes the classic effect of Joni Mitchell, or possibly more aptly, Shawn Colvin (at least in the melody), by using an unusual guitar tuning and a sweeping strum to add tension to an ache filled lyric.

I heard someone say recently with regard to music, "Nothing is old anymore, it's all in fashion." Perhaps you might consider Craig Bickhardt's message and music a departure from the confrontational and blustery mode of communication we are apparently stuck with today. If you need a break from all of that, he just might be your guy.



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