Individuals might not be familiar with Craig Bickhardt from name alone. For film buffs, however, individuals may know of Bickhardt from the compositions that he contributed to the classic flick “Tender Mercies”, that starred Robert Duvall. If the individual would not know Bickhardt from that linkage, he has also penned hits for stars like Pam Tillis and Martina McBride. Knowing that he penned hits for those individuals does not give individuals any real idea what Bickhardt sounds like, however. The opening track to “Easy Fires” is the title track, and it brings together the singer-songwriter style of the seventies alongside a nineties idea of country music. This is to say that what Bickhardt does is earthy, honest, and relies on American tradition more than anything. The first track on “Easy Fires” shows that Bickhardt is one hell of a story teller as well.
The harmonies created by the vocals and the instruments are different enough to create a little bit of tension in the track, which in turn makes each constituent part all the better. “Where I Used To Have A Heart” is the next stand up track on “Easy Fires”, and brings Bickhardt even more into the country state of mind. The production is perfect for the style of music played on the disc, which is intimate enough to highlight the vocals but is not too constricting. Bickhardt will ensure that individuals focus on “Easy Fires” as the stories told are applicable to a wider subset of listeners, and the soothing instrumental sounds will please a large segment of listeners. Each of the tracks on “Easy Fires” does this without fail, and what seems to be the most pleasing part of Bickhardt’s nature is his ability to blend in different amounts of country and singer-songwriter styles for each track.
This allows each track to stand on its own with a style that is completely different from anything else that is on the disc. There are twelve cuts on this disc, and there is nothing in the way of weakness throughout. The music may have been released a few years ago, but the music is still vibrant, still interesting, and anyone that truly loves the musical arts should find a way to pick up a copy of this disc. Pick this album up and make sure to pick up anything else Bickhardt releases in the next few years. I am pretty much sure that there will be something that individuals can appreciate on here.
Top Tracks: The Ransom, I Can’t Turn The Tide
Craig Bickhardt – Easy Fires / 2001, 2007 Self / 12 Tracks / http://www.craigbickhardt.com / Reviewed 05 June 2007