Daniel Bachman, “When The Roses Come Again”
By Katie Kurtz · November 22, 2023 Merch for this release:
Vinyl LP, Compact Disc (CD)

At this stage of his artistic evolution, folklorist and multi-instrumental Daniel Bachman has refined the various strands he pulls from in his music—the gathered environmental sounds and experimentation with GarageBand and free drum machine and oscillator apps and the hallmark drone he produces from guitars and fiddles and bows—and has mastered his approach to composition. Bachman is heavily influenced by the history of Virginia and its environs as well as his own family’s historical and musical legacies dating back hundreds of years. On his mother’s side, this includes the Hostetlers, a mid-19th century quartet of visually impaired traveling musicians and singers known as the “Blind Family.” An artistic time bender, Bachman uses “primitive,” homemade, and 21st century technology to compose sonic epistles imbued with the past that are still very much poems of the present.

When the Roses Come Again can be read as the final album of a trilogy that started with Axacan, a reckoning with both the country and his family’s ties to white supremacy recorded during the tumult of 2020 and released in 2021. The trilogy hits its climax with 2022’s Almanac Behind, which captures Bachman’s deeply felt psychological processing of the climate crisis following his experience with Canadian wildfire smoke that swept through the Eastern seaboard. Emotionally and tonally lighter, allusions to the previous albums can be found in When the Roses Come Again.

“On A Summer Over Yonder (With Joy To You and I)” picks up a storyline that concluded Almanac Behind’s journey of climate grief with “Recalibration/Normalization.” There is hope to be found in When the Roses Come Again, and it’s a long time coming. The last song, “Now the roses come again,” ends on an ellipsis and the feeling that plans are being made to move forward while also looking back, continuing the steady work of embracing an increasingly complicated present.

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