Craig Finn with Horse Thief and Mount Moriah
8911 N. Western
$12 advance, $14 door
rocker Craig Finn’s been doing it for a little less than a decade as
the front man for The Hold Steady, Brooklyn’s beloved bar band. Although
he’s recently taken a brief detour as a solo artist to focus on themes
of displacement and loneliness, there’s no indication of a departure
from the cadre of hard-drinking, drug-swapping, rave-throwing teenage
hood rats who populate his previous work.
“I came into the studio Monday morning, shook everyone’s hand and by Friday night, we had 14 songs recorded, or at least the better parts of ’em,” Finn said of the recording sessions for “Clear Heart Full Eyes.”
“I was a little intimidated. It was outside my comfort zone, for sure. I’m still a fairly limited musician, so it was a challenge for me. I came out of it and it turned into something I really loved. I gained a lot of confidence from it.”
Weaned on Hüsker Dü and The Replacements growing up in Minnesota, Finn long has written lyrics bolted down to emotive, hard-charging rock ’n’ roll pieces from Tad Kubler, lead guitarist for The Hold Steady and their previous band, Lifter Puller.
Going solo changed that, but he didn’t head halfway across the country unprepared. First, Finn challenged himself to write one song a day, and left with 50. He also drove across Australia by himself just to write songs, which directly resulted in the album’s opening track, “Apollo Bay,” and informed much of the rest of “Full Eyes,” which was released last week.
“I was by myself driving in a car. You
can get really remote. You can get to places where you’re not seeing
other people pretty easily. I was in some touristy areas at times, but
it was in the off-season, so no one was really there,” he said. “I think
a lot of the songs on the record tap into being alone, or solitary. ...
But in one sense, we’re all alone in this world, you know? We enter and
leave it alone, so I guess that’s part of the record.”