Last year we tried a little experiment with our friends at the Tall Ship Windy here on Navy Pier. During the attraction's lunch break we invited musicians to climb aboard the pirate ship to play a few songs. We called it Pirate Radio.
The best session we recorded was with David Bazan, the Seattle singer-songwriter who recorded as Pedro the Lion from 1995-2005. He was touring in support of his first record under his given name, Curse Your Branches. We posted the first song from that session ("Please, Baby, Please") a few months ago. Now Bazan has released another stellar album called Strange Negotiations (Barsuk) and performed songs from it last night at Lincoln Hall. Where Curse Your Branches was a country-tinged collection of break-up notes to God, Strange Negotiations has a 70's rock influence and is lyrically concerned with caring for people you disagree with.
Taken together, the two albums make a strong case for Bazan being one of the best working songwriters around. He is certainly one of the most thoughtful and effective writers on the topic of religion and American politics.
Here's a great performance of "Hard To Be" from Curse Your Branches performed on a pirate ship.