Craig Bickhardt | Brother to the Wind

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Folk: Folk-Rock Country: Americana Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Brother to the Wind

by Craig Bickhardt

3rd release from a master singer-songwriter who has been covered by Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Ray Charles, Tony Rice, David Wilcox, Martina McBride, Art Garfunkel, and others. Soulful acoustic music from the heart.
Genre: Folk: Folk-Rock
Release Date: 

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Tracks

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1. Life With The Sound Turned Down
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4:25 album only
2. Carrying A Dream
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4:53 album only
3. Brother To The Wind
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3:55 album only
4. Even A Cowboy Can Dream
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4:24 album only
5. A Day Well Spent
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3:05 album only
6. If He Came Back Again
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4:01 album only
7. This Old House
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4:48 album only
8. Lord Franklin
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4:33 album only
9. The Real Game
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3:40 album only
10. Donald And June
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3:50 album only
11. Prayers For You
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3:25 album only
12. Where In The World
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4:43 album only
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Craig Bickhardt’s new CD Brother To The Wind contains some of the best work he has done in a long career dedicated to ennobling the art of song. One listen and you'll be reminded of the days when artists like James Taylor, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell and Gordon Lightfoot were pioneering the singer-songwriter genre.

"Music used to change people,” Bickhardt notes. “Records used to be made for careful listeners who read the lyrics and talked about the songs, interpreted their meanings. That’s the kind of music I relate to.” Craig is following in the traditions of his admired predecessors.

For the project, Bickhardt dug deep into his 800-tune catalog. The record contains songs that have already proven their strength, having been recorded by Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Trisha Yearwood, Tony Rice, Charlie Louvin and others. But Craig is not merely some hit maker capitalizing on his thoroughbred discography. These are the quintessential versions of highly artistic songs, and throughout his extraordinary career Craig picked up many believers among the better artists of his generation. You can hear them sitting in on nearly every cut of the CD; Janis Ian, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Tim O'Brien, Darrell Scott, Maura O'Connell, Rusty Young, Jack Sundrud and a host of others.

"I wanted to include some of the artists and friends I've known and respected on this CD. You get to a point where you realize you don't have forever in this world. It's time to do the things I've put off, and one of those things is to sing and pick with these great people I've met and admired.”

Native Pennsylvanian Craig Bickhardt’s big break came in 1982 when he was chosen to write and sing two songs for Robert Duvall's Academy Award winning film "Tender Mercies". In the wake of that film’s success, Craig made his move to Nashville where his songs found their way onto platinum and Grammy winning CDs by legends such as Ray Charles, B. B. King, Alison Krauss, Martina McBride, The Judds and Dianne Schuur to name just a few. Along with his friends and collaborators Thom Schuyler, Fred Knobloch and Don Schlitz, Craig also helped to establish the original Writers In The Round series at The Bluebird Café.

He went on to have three hits as an artist when he joined Schuyler and Knobloch to make their SKB CD No Easy Horses for MTM Records. The group's version of Craig's song "Givers And Takers" entered the top ten on the Billboard country charts in the fall of 1988.

In 2006 Bickhardt made the bold move to leave Nashville and return to the concert stage and to his roots in eastern Pennsylvania. Since his move he has shared the stage with Kathy Mattea, Judy Collins, Billy Joe Shaver, Livingston Taylor, and Janis Ian among others. His performance at the 2008 Philadelphia Folk Festival prompted the concert’s promoter Jesse Lundy to say, “Craig Bickhardt stands among the giants of songwriting. His main stage show at this year's Philly Folk Festival was absolutely outstanding.”


Reviews


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Steve Ramm

He may have left Nashville, but Nashville hasn’t left him
I’ve probably heard many of singer-songwriter Craig Bickhardt’s bag of more than 800 songs, but they were always by artists like Willie Nelson, or Johnny Cash (I missed the record he made with fellow Nashville songwriters Thom Schuyler and Fed Knoblock when they recorded as SBK). But, after 24 years of toiling in Nashville – and doing many nights at the famous Bluebird Cafe – Bickhardt returned to his suburban Philadelphia roots last year and did a “showcase” at the 2008 Philly Folk Festival. That’s where I first heard him sing his own songs.

This new CD shows that Bickhardt can perform his own songs (8 of the 12 tracks on the CD are collaborations with other Nashville-based writers or, in one case, his adaptation of a John Renbourn classic, “Lord Franklin”, with passion. And many of Bickhardt’s better-known performer friends are hear to support him. Terri Hendrix and Lloyd Maines appear on two tracks, Janis Ian, Maura O’Connell and Beth Nielsen Chapman each help out on one. The musicians include Nashville’s best, like Byron House.

But it’s Bickhardt’s words – and the way he phrases them – that make this an excellent album. The standout track for me is “This Old House” (with Ian singing harmony), in which an old homestead tells it’s own history. It’s just a perfect song. Runner up, in my opinion, is “The Real Game” where Bickhardt compares the million-dollar salaries of Major League Baseball players with neighborhood kids playing for the “fun of it”.

Note that, at least on my copy tracks 7 and 8 were reversed from the order listed on the CD sleeve. Also, I’d really have liked to have the lyrics printed in the package (after all Bickhardt writes “poetry set to music”). But these are small quibbles.

I’ll be looking forward to Bickhardt making a return trip to Nashville (where these tracks were recorded over a 13 month period) and interpreting more of his wonderful songs.

Steve Ramm
“Anything Phonographic”

Charlotte Ryerson, Red Truck Radio

One
I've been a huge fan of Craig Bickhardt for quite awhile now and Brother to the Wind is no exception to the quality of songwriting I've come to expect from him. There are breathtaking moments in this collection--I can't say enough about the effect of the combination of Craig's voice with his daughter Aislinn Bickhardt. (I would vote for them becoming a duo, in fact--the world needs to hear more of her!)My favorite song in the collection is one of their vocal collaborations, "Carrying A Dream". Craig wrote this song with his friend F.C. Collins, who also collaborated on "Brother to the Wind", another standout.

Don't tell them, but I liked Craig's recording of "If He Came Back Again" even better than the Highwaymen. What a great and timeless message in this song!
Kudos also to John Mock, who shared producer credits with Craig.
This is one well worth buying!

P.G.Rutten

Craig is a crack and his daughter is a rising star
Awesome new record of this songwriter. The performance of his daughter is a real treat. Craig shows us that after all these years he is still a master in his league. Awesome, also is the list of guests. Not only his daughter vis there also Janis Ian, Terri Hendrix and Maura OÇonnell to mention only a few. We are lucky that we have CD baby to bring us these gems. Craig i am looking forward to new music, specially also to the debut album of your Daughter Aislinn.

Steven Struck

Hearfelt, Intelligent Singer-Songwriter
Brother to the Wind is an exceptional new CD by the very talented singer-songwriter and guitarist Craig Bickhardt. Having lived in Nashville for over 20 years where he wrote numerous songs for a prestigious array of artists, and currently living in suburban Philadelphia where he grew up, Craig Bickhardt is now enjoying performing his folk-Americana sound, which has some Philly soul influence, to live audiences. I first became aware of Craig Bickhardt after seeing him open a show for headliner Billy Joe Shaver, and was immediately captured by his intelligent and meanigful songs, which communicate hearfelt lyrics to the listener, touching their hearts and imaginations. A brilliant communicator with an emotionally charged & soothingly smooth voice, Bickhardt's deeply poetic lyrics create vivid soundscapes that transport the listener to a world he creates. A self-taight guitarist with a signature finger picking guitar style, the acoustic sounds and graceful arrangements of his songs feel timeless and fresh at the same time. The guest artists on Brother to the Wind add subtle flourishes of mandolin, lap steel, cello, fiddle and harmonica. The vocal harmonies with Beth Nielsen Chapman on the tender, moving "Where in The World" are a particular highlight:

"I wonder, where in the world
Did I find someone like you
Did you come in from the rain
Did you step out of the blue
Are you a wish in a well
From a coin someone threw
I wonder where in the world did I find you

When I sit and consider the chances, it's plain to see
It took more than the right circumstances to bring you to me
Something was guiding us body and soul
Something was moving beyond our control
In this creation of wonderous size
What made me look into your eyes"

Other poignant songs on this CD include "This Old House" (the literative tale told by a house vacated but full of memories, joys and tears of the family that had lived there), the grateful love ode "Carrying A Dream", the retrospective and wisdom-inspired "A Day Well Spent", the tale of America's favorite pastime baseball in its purest form - "The Real Game", and the optimistic well-wishes and sentiments of "Prayers For You".

Brother to the Wind is a brilliant recording by a man who has spent a lifetime crafting intelligent and meaningful songs ... an acoustic masterpiece that will touch your heart and mind.

Steve Struck (sstruck1@msn.com)