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Live From The Current Studio

Craig Finn allows himself to be more vulnerable

  Play Now [25:35]

by Bill DeVille and Craig Finn

October 25, 2015

Craig Finn - Maggie I've Been Searching for Our Son (Live on 89.3 The Current)
by MPR
Craig Finn - Newmyer's Roof (Live on 89.3 The Current)
by MPR
Craig Finn - Christine (Live on 89.3 The Current)
by MPR
Craig Finn 1
Craig Finn performing a solo acoustic set in The Current studio.
MPR photo/Luke Taylor

When he's working with the Hold Steady these days, Craig Finn concentrates on writing lyrics, adding them to the music created by his band mates. But on his latest solo effort, Faith in the Future, Finn injects a bit more of himself into the lyrics and the music. "My day-to-day life is not as exciting as a Hold Steady song," Finn says. "[The solo record] allows me to be more vulnerable."

In the Twin Cities for back-to-back gigs at the Woman's Club in Minneapolis on Saturday, Oct. 24, and at the Turf Club in St. Paul on Sunday, Oct. 25, Finn visited The Current's studio for a solo acoustic session hosted by Bill DeVille.

Part of Finn's more personal side comes out in the interview as Finn answers DeVille's questons about the inspiration for some of the songs on the new record:

On "Maggie I'm Searching for Our Son":
"It's about someone who is kind of wrapping up their life — maybe it's come towards the end. He's sort of looking back in his life and finding a life that was always searching, whether it's geographically — going to these different places — or spiritually. And in this case, he's still looking for the son, literally or figuratively. But it was inspired by a lot of things, and there's the whole part at the end that talks about the ATF, which sounds like a Waco kind of thing, but I actually had a bus driver in the Hold Steady, an older guy who was talking about how he was living in a commune in South Dakota in the mid-'60s, and I kept thinking about that guy and what that must have been like."

On "Newmyer's Roof":
"My friend Chris Newmyer's roof is where I saw 9/11 happen. I'd been in New York just about a year, I was working in an office and we went to his roof. He was my friend and my boss. And we went and we watched the towers burn and then collapse. … My girlfriend, who I wasn't dating then, was on the 33rd floor of the north tower, and she went out against orders; they told everyone to stay where they were. She decided not to. That song is a little bit about that, but it's also about believing that there's something better to come, and in my case, it was that there was love to be found many years later. It kind of goes back to the title of the album, Faith in the Future."

On "Going to a Show":
"There is a reference to the First Avenue mainroom … That song's about how I still love going to shows, and I always have. And I've come to a point where I really enjoy going to shows alone. … You don't have to worry about, if you're like, 'This band I really love,' and you look over at your friend and he's kind of bored halfway through and you're like, 'Oh no, he's not into it as much as I am.' So it's kind of a way to just sort of do something by myself and really focus on the parts that I like."

Finn, an Edina native, has lived in New York for 15 years now. As such, he notes his new solo album contains only one Twin Cities reference. "And I've been a lot of places, too, since we started the Hold Steady," Finn says, "so the songs are more likely to take place anywhere."

The New York lifestyle has been appealing to Finn, and he enjoys the anonymity the city offers. "That's one of the beautiful things about New York," he says. "You can be very alone but surrounded by people all the time. That becomes almost addicting. That's a great state for me."

Despite his embrace of New York, Finn's sports allegiances remain quite firmly planted in Minnesota; although he's pulling for the New York Mets in the World Series, Finn declares his undying loyalty to the Minnesota Twins. "It's a great team," Finn says. "We played meaningful baseball until the last weekend of the year and I think that's all you can ask of your team. … It seems good things are ahead.

"I have faith in the future," he says.

Songs Performed

"Maggie I've Been Searching for Our Son"
"Newmyer's Roof"
All songs from Craig Finn's 2015 album, Faith in the Future, available on PTKF records.

Hosted by Bill DeVille
Produced by Lindsay Kimball
Engineered by Corey Schreppel
Web feature by Luke Taylor