Once when I was mining for gold out in the Black Hills of South Dakota, I heard an old prospector singing to himself in the distance. I immediately stopped looking for my treasure to listen to this old man singing his version of the blues; it was the Old Prospector Blues. I never met him though, for when I ventured out yonder, there was no one to be found. My life's work has been devoted to finding this man and his songs, searching high and medium height looking for that sound.
If any of that were true, I would have found that man in Chris Bathgate. Think of Mr. Bathgate as kind of Ray LaMontagne-ish. If you're into that kind of sound. His voice sounds like he swallowed nails and pop rocks. His album A Cork Wake Tale is filled with songs that are screaming to be put on a soundtrack to some movie about a cold prairie life.
His song Serpentine has a quite soothing sound filled with enough oooooouuhs to help you find your center when doing yoga. Smiles Like A Fist is a rollicking, horn-laden, down home slow-burner, with a start/stop guitar that keeps going. You wouldn't even know that "down-home" feel Bathgate oozes is refering to his home in...wait for it... Michigan. He even has a song devoted to Ann Arbor.
Bathgate's voice is what carries each and every song. He has a way to make you feel the very emotion he felt when he wrote the songs. Distinct in every way and aided by an ear for unexpected melodies, Chris Bathgate is worth checking out if you are looking for that figurative "old prospector" genre in your music collection.
Chris Bathgate: Myspace