History Runs Through Daniel Bachman's Guitar

Daniel Bachman performs for a Field Recordings video shoot at Stratford Hall, birthplace of Robert E. Lee in Stratford, Virginia. (NPR)
Daniel Bachman performs for a Field Recordings video shoot at Stratford Hall, birthplace of Robert E. Lee in Stratford, Virginia. (NPR)

Daniel Bachman calls Durham, N.C., home now, but he grew up around the Rappahannock River in Fredericksburg. It's a quiet town in Northern Virginia that still has a pharmacy with cheap sandwiches and milkshakes; but, as Bachman pointed out to us, it has more tattoo parlors than music stores these days. That's not a judgment, just the way things are.

The 25-year-old has been at the solo-guitar game since he was a teenager, befriending folks like the since-departed Jack Rose and slowly finding his own way into the music. That's why it felt right to bring Bachman back to the area that inspired River, a record surrounded by history, but guided by hands and a heart that know its bends and bumps.

In early March, we met Bachman in Fredericksburg to drive an hour east to Stratford Hall, home to four generations of the Lee family, which includes two signers of the Declaration of Independence; it's also the birthplace of Robert E. Lee. Bachman knows it well, not only because his dad works there, but also because he can't help but bury himself in history books about the region.

There's still snow on the ground when we arrive, as we scrape chunks of mud from our boots before entering the impeccably preserved Great House. Overlooking the rolling hills of Virginia, Bachman plays a version of "Song For The Setting Sun II" in what was the performance space at Stratford Hall. The song leaps boldly around the sunlit, symmetrical room, bouncing off walls decorated with paintings of buxom women and men in powdered wigs.

Set List

  • "Song For The Setting Sun II"

Credits

Producers: Lars Gotrich, Mito Habe-Evans; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Mito Habe-Evans, Maggie Starbard, Carlos Waters, Lars Gotrich; Special Thanks: Stratford Hall, Mark and Rachel Dibner of the Argus Fund; Executive Producer: Anya Grundmann

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