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Clear Heart Full Eyes

Craig FinnAudio CD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

Price: $12.25 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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MP3 Music, 11 Songs, 2012 $9.49  
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Apollo Baby 5:45$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  2. When No One's Watching 3:46$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  3. No Future 3:43$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  4. New Friend Jesus 3:10$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Jackson 3:18$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Terrified Eyes 4:46$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Western Pier 3:52$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Honolulu Blues 4:15$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Rented Room 4:36$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen10. Balcony 3:13$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen11. Not Much Left Of Us 4:11$1.29  Buy MP3 

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Clear Heart Full Eyes


In July 2011, I went to Austin Texas to make a record. The Hold Steady was on a four month break, and I wanted to try something a little different. Earlier in the year, I had written a bunch of songs that were outside of the norm for The Hold Steady, a little quieter and perhaps more narrative. I also wanted to gain some experience and insight into the process of making a record by working ... Read more in Amazon's Craig Finn Store

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 24, 2012)
  • Original Release Date: 2011
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Vagrant Records
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,540 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

2012 solo album from the Hold Steady mainman. Produced by Mike McCarthy, the album features Finn backed by musicians Josh Block, Jesse Ebaugh, Ricky Ray Jackson, and Billy White. The album was recorded in Austin, Texas during the summer of 2011 and captures the raw excitement of Finn's songs, most of which were captured in no more than three takes.

From the Artist

From Craig Finn:

In July 2011, I went to Austin Texas to make a record. The Hold Steady was on a four month break, and I wanted to try something a little different. Earlier in the year, I had written a bunch of songs that were outside of the norm for The Hold Steady, a little quieter and perhaps more narrative. I also wanted to gain some experience and insight into the process of making a record by working with new people.

It was July in Austin. It was hot. Really hot.

I had enlisted Mike McCarthy to produce the record. I really admire his work and his thoughts on songs and recording. Prior to arriving, I had sent Mike acoustic demos of 23 songs. They were very rough recordings, just acoustic guitar and vocals recorded live intmy laptop. The songs had mostly been written in the first half of 2011, when I was experimenting with trying to write a new song every day.

When I arrived in Austin, we trimmed the list down to 14 songs and made simple but good sounding recordings of each of these, each live with just acoustic and vocal. Then we talked about possible instrumentation and arrangements. We listened to records. We conceptualized and talked about what we were hearing in our heads. We sketched out rough ideas

The next Monday, four musicians showed up: Josh Block, Jesse Ebaugh, Ricky Ray Jackson, and Billy White. Mike had chosen them, and he chose well. We said hellos and got to work. We moved quickly. I would show them the song and they would learn it, and quickly we were rolling tape. I sang the vocals live in the studio, something I hadn't really done before. I don't believe any song took more than three takes. These players brought a ton of enthusiasm and energy to the recording. It was really exciting to watch and hear them play together. We averaged a couple songs a day. By that Friday evening we had 14 songs tracked, including the vocals. We spent a few days listening and then did a few overdubs. We drove around in Austin, listening to rough mixes.

I left Austin three weeks after I arrived. It was still really hot.

When considering the songs as a whole, I realized that a lot of the songs deal with displacement, and people that are struggling while out of their element or comfort zone. A lot of the songs are about being alone. This is all pretty fertile ground for a musiciathat spends a lot of time on tour. It's also telling about the way we made this record, going to a friendly but fairly unfamiliar place to work with all new people.

I'm calling this record "Clear Heart Full Eyes". It's a juxtaposed reference to Friday Night Lights, a TV show that excited and moved me and also happened in Texas. Further, "Clear Heart" signifies honesty and transparency, and "Full Eyes" suggests experience. Thus, it's about being optimistic and open without succumbing to the weariness or doubt that comes with age and experience. To me, that is what it's all about.

I hope you enjoy the music. I am very proud of it.

Thank you.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not A Vanity Project January 25, 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Essential Tracks:

Honolulu Blues
Terrified Eyes
Not Much Left Of Us

Craig Finn is like Bob Dylan - you either enjoy his voice or you don't. The question for most people considering Clear Heart Full Eyes is going to be where it falls on the catalog - is it more LFTR/PLLR, The BrokerDealer or The Hold Steady? Does it suck? Should I buy it?

The Hold Steady, No, Yes.

With that resolved - Finn's solo album does have it's occasional moments of awkwardness (lyrical and musical) but overall there were few moments that made me wish it had more Kubler. While Clear Heart Full Eyes fails to reach the heights of his best collaborative works there is little for Finn to be ashamed of here. (Ok, My New Friend Jesus is not the strongest track he's ever put out. I give you that up front.) Oddly one of his strongest tracks, Sarah I'm Surrounded, is not available on the CD. Thematically Finn is still working with his familiar group of people trying to get past obstacles and capture something bright for a moment. Here they face depression, medical bills and the inevitable erosions of time. Some of the tracks could have easily been put out by The Hold Steady, but framing them in this quieter style serves Finn's vocal style well. Solo projects can feel like a closet clearing - something the artist had to get out to go on with his main work. Clear Heart Full Eyes feels like an overflow from an artist with more to say than one band has room for. I look forward to the next album by The Hold Steady, but Clear Heart Full Eyes has won my heart on its own merits.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Craig Finn puts of a terrific solo effort February 6, 2012
By J. Luiz
When I heard one song in a preview of this album -- "Rented Room" -- I expected Craig was going to put out a collection of slow-tempo songs without the rocking energy of the Hold Steady material. Boy was I pleasantly surprised. This is a terrific album. In some what it's even more accessible than some Hold Steady songs because there are chorus hooks in every song and in almost every song Craig fully sings, without lapsing into the talk-singing he does in a number of Hold Steady songs. Many of the songs like "Terrified Eyes," "No Future" and "Balcony" were instant likes for me, but the other songs build interest almost as quickly. The songs feature all the brilliant storytelling and clever lines listeners have come to expect of Craig, but the music offers quite a surprise in being quite distinct from the Hold Steady standard. A few even have a bit of a country twang. In an interview I read, Tad Kubler acknowledged that his addiction problems may have Craig worried about his artistic future and that he may have put out this ablum to prove to himself he could still have a career if Tad's problems led to the demise of the Hold Steady. Let's hope the latter never happens - and they're already talking about the sixth Hold Steady album. But while you wait for that one, I think most Hold Steady fans will enjoy how accomplished Craig's solo effort is.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finntastic. February 3, 2012
Format:Audio CD
I never post reviews on Amazon, and though in reality I would likely rate this at 4 stars, I had to boost the ridiculously low current rating. Craig Finn is one of the best storytellers in today's music scene and much of this album ranks among his finest work. Many a reviewer has noted that this doesn't match the bombastic rock & roll of a Hold Steady record, but that's not a bad thing. The more subdued, Americana-esque vibe fits the record and the songs really well. If you like to pay attention when you listen, this album will reward you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wanted to love it February 29, 2012
Format:MP3 Music
As a big fan of the Hold Steady, I was ready to embrace this album. I think Craig Finn is a great lyricist and singer, but this album falls a little short of the mark. It's very lyric heavy at the expensive of the music, I think. It's a pleasant listen, but none of the tracks stay in your head. Hold Steady, don't leave me now! I'm sure you still have much more to offer.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Leicester Bangs Review (2012): February 4, 2012
Format:Audio CD
Craig Finn - Clear Heart Full Eyes (Full Time Hobby)
On first hearing, it's understandable why Craig Finn's debut solo record was never going to be a Hold Steady album. The small screen Americana that the band play, and excel at - something that coalesces the rock `n' roll abandon of prime-time Replacements with the short stories of Richard Ford - simply doesn't apply on "Clear Heart Full Eyes". Instead Finn brings calmness and a quiet quirkiness to his songs, and lets his words run without confinement.

In interviews he's spoken about songwriters who have stirred his imagination, and a desire to strip back the bluster - though The Hold Steady peddle some of the finest bluster around. Here he sounds like a writer totally familiar with the prime movers of the Texas songwriting tradition; Guy Clark, Townes van Zandt, Blaze Foley, etc., together with various new Dylans, including John Prine and Steve Goodman. There's never been any doubting his songwriting prowess, right from the early days of "Almost Killed Me", and here he gets the chance to put his words front and centre. My favourites are many, and I must draw attention to the chugging "No Future" - Freddie Mercury and Johnny Rotten so rarely get to be in the same song together, even Neil Young only managed to squeeze one of them in - and "New Friend Jesus", where Finn get's to talk about his new pal, all to a rather glorious country groove.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars great.
Everything I wanted from the front man of the hold steady. I hope I can see him/them tour soon. .
Published 18 months ago by Patrick J Gallagher
5.0 out of 5 stars as someone that loves the hold steady
... this was great. The hold steady always hovers around the top of my favorite bands list, so I follow Craig Finn on twitter, when this record came out, I had to have it. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Sarah Godar
1.0 out of 5 stars Clear Heart Full Eyes
Stay Positive was a great album. After Franz left their sound was so stripped down that I just couldn't get in to them as much. This album is another story all together. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Eric W Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars Record of the Year? Perhaps.
Craig Finn is today's best songwriter; lyrically, no one comes close. This record took a few spins to grow on me, but I knew it would. Read more
Published on October 13, 2012 by Geee!
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice and unencumbered
One thing about the Hold Steady disks is that I felt there was too much of an
egalitarian push to include the whole band in every number. Read more
Published on September 23, 2012 by Edward G. Molinaro
5.0 out of 5 stars I met him in the Riverside Perkins
I have to begin this review by admitting I am a huge The Hold Steady fan. I was hesitant to buy this CD beacause I wasn't sure how it would stand up to the band's quality. Read more
Published on August 20, 2012 by Pbmedx
4.0 out of 5 stars A Widescreen and Verbose Solo Debut
For his solo debut, Craig Finn, known mostly for his band The Hold Steady but also for Mini Apple rockers Lifter Puller, went to Austin, Texas. Read more
Published on February 26, 2012 by Gregory William Locke
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Facet to a Unique American Voice
Craig Finn continues to be one of strongest and most uniquely American lyricists of any recent generation - his words are right up there with Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, etc. Read more
Published on February 26, 2012 by David W. Bainbridge
4.0 out of 5 stars Raw Finn
Craig Finn delivered the solo album many fans of The Hold Steady had always hoped for. He brings his unique voice and storytelling in a more personal form. Read more
Published on February 18, 2012 by Mason
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Craig Finn Solo Clear Heart Full Eyes
Jan 28, 2012 by icecube |  See all 2 posts
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