There are few songwriters who can tell as story vividly and poignantly as Craig Finn. While his songs with The Hold Steady typically depict the lives of the down-and-out — gutter rats, barflies, drug addicts and a lot of people who make some pretty bad choices — their overwhelming appeal lies in the fact that even the voices of misfits can reveal some existential truths about us all. That, and they can make us laugh and cry. On Clear Heart Full Eyes, Craig Finn’s debut solo album, though, he turns his gaze inwardly, and his stories, true or not, feel like first person narratives — Hold Steady fans, never fear: Life still has its heartbreaking moments — but even musically the album feels more intimate with its rootsy, western vibe. For his recent session live in the KEXP studio, Finn brought Austin musicians Ricky Ray Jackson (pedal steel), Alex Livingstone (bass), James Stevens (guitar), and Falcon Valdez (drums) to back him and recreate some of its finer moments. Check out the videos from the session now and hear for yourself one of our best living storytellers, in rock or otherwise:
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