Craig Finn

Daily Herald

Sound check: Craig Finn, Indigo Girls in Evanston; Josh Caterer in Skokie

Chicago indie label Pravda Records celebrates 38 years of Chicago-area music with a two-years-postponed anniversary party at Skokie's Sketchbook Brewing Co. this weekend. The two-night PravdaFest, hosted by James Van Osdol, will highlight current artists and musical reunions from the label's roster; Josh Caterer, Steve Dawson, Hushdrops and Boom Hank take the outdoor stage Friday night, while The Slugs. The Service, Diplomats of Solid Sound and The Handcuffs hit the spotlight Saturday. Sketchbook Brewing will also unveil Pravda38, a new lager brewed up for the event. 7 p.m. (doors open at 6 p.m.) Friday and Saturday, June 24-25, at Sketchbook Brewing Co., 3901 Main St., Skokie. $30 per night; $50 for both nights; $75 for a two-night VIP package.

Craig Finn – Birthdays

Craig Finn is a Minnesota-bred singer/songwriter based in New York City, best known as the singer of The Hold Steady. Finn spent the ’90’s leading Minneapolis indie band Lifter Puller, which released 3 albums and an EP. After relocating to New York, he joined with Lifter Puller member Tad Kubler to form The Hold Steady in 2003. The Hold Steady quickly achieved critical acclaim and a worldwide fan base with their unique pairing of densely lyrical narratives with big rock guitars. The Hold Steady has released eight LPs, including Open Door Policy in February 2021. Finn released his first solo album in 2012 with three additional solo LPs put forth since 2015 – Faith in the Future, We All Want The Same Things, and 2019’s I Need a New War – which coalesced into a sign-of-the-times musical trilogy. Finn’s debut book “I Can’t Keep Saying Thank You”, a collection of his song lyrics, was also released in 2019. A double album of b-sides/outtakes All These Perfect Crosses was released in 2021 accompanied by a limited edition graphic novel/comic book. Pitchfork has described Finn as “a born storyteller, who has chosen rock as his medium.”

Craig Finn Wrestles With Memory on “A Legacy of Rentals”

Craig Finn spent a lot of time thinking about fish tanks in the spring of 2020. The Hold Steady singer had moved out of his apartment in Brooklyn to stay with family for his own safety while his partner, a nurse, cared for COVID patients. Friends were fleeing the city for less fraught, more spacious accommodations upstate. Yet wherever you lived, whatever you were doing, there was no getting away from the reality of those months. Having no way out of it brought images of home aquariums to Finn’s mind as he spent that initial lockdown working on new songs.

Craig Finn Returns To The Scene

For the better part of three decades, Craig Finn has testified to the power of proximity. At concerts with his band, the Hold Steady, he shout-sings in an effortful half-octave over three-guitar riffage, telling the stories of lost-and-found souls chasing communal comfort: boozing, getting blitzed and/or baptized, running into whichever arms might hold them. His solo output is all existential hangovers, folks meeting up to shake off rough years. Fans who track back to Lifter Puller, Finn’s late-’90s origin story, find the same sentiments filed to sharper points, his lyrics tailing a horde of truants who hotwire their nervous systems and forget their nights. Finn calls himself a lapsed Catholic but still goes to mass, and his thesis inverts Sartre: heaven, or as close as we can get, is other people. “You know, all these wretches that appear in the Bible get saved, or have the potential to be saved,” Finn told me. “We’ve all sinned, and we can all come back.”

Craig Finn – “Birthdays”

The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn announced his latest solo album A Legacy Of Rentals last month with the release of the mournful, moving “Messing With The Settings.” Today he’s got another single from the album out, a more upbeat but equally thoughtful song called “Birthdays.”