Damien Jurado: Where Shall You Take Me (Deluxe Reissue)
Damien Jurado is the sort of songwriter who straddles rock's past and future, and with each record contributes a new chapter to an ever-fruitful body of work. Before we move onto the next chapter, we look back his first album with Secretly Canadian. An instant classic when released in 2003, Where Shall You Take Me? was his fifth full-length, and is a beautiful collection of ten Raymond Carver-esque vignettes terror and bliss in Middle America. Celebrating the 10th anniversary of this fine release comes a deluxe 2xLP vinyl reissue, incorporating unreleased basement reel demos, and the Just In Time For Something ep (never before released on vinyl).
"If it were not for Jason Molina, I may not have ended up on the Secretly Canadian record label. The guy practically twisted one arm behind my back, and with the other, walked me through the front door of where I am today. I am eternally grateful for the guidance, knowledge, influence, and inspiration he so graciously shared with me. The reissue of this album is dedicated to his life and legacy." - Damien Jurado
Damien Jurado: Maraqopa
At Richard Swift's National Freedom studios, the live-to-tape ethos allowed the songs on Damien Jurado's Maraqopa to expand and retract like a great beast's breath. Every in-the-moment bell and whistle here is hung with a natural, casual care. And from this, each song offers up its own unique gift: the enchanting children's choir that echoes each line of Jurado's lament for innocence lost on "Life Away from the Garden"; the breezy bossa nova that begins "This Time Next Year" and rises as effortless as a smoke cloud into high-noon showdown pop; "Reel to Reel"'s wobbly, Spector-symphony and its meta themes; the wonderful falsetto vocal work Jurado pulls from himself on "Museum of Flight." The Seattle Times recently called Jurado "Seattle's folk-boom godfather," a praising recognition to be sure. But also a title Jurado might not yet be ready to accept. That's a title for someone who has settled. With each visit to National Freedom, Jurado is exploring, taking risks. He's not only freeing his songs. The gate is opened wide to allow us all into his once-isolated musical universe. One gets the sense he's just now hitting his stride.
Damien Jurado: Saint Bartlett
Saint Bartlett opens up with a grandiosity yet unheard on a Damien Jurado album. It strips away the many layers of paint from the house down the street where we know Jurado has occupied for the last decade. The new coat is exhilarating. It makes the whole neighborhood shine. It's a modest grandiosity; still homegrown. The mellotron swells, heavenly handclaps ring in stereo and big drums create a sky for the songs to fly in. And the words. Words spring forth from within the volcano of Jurado, full of hope. There's so much hope, in fact, that album opener "Cloudy Shoes" turns into a call-and-response with himself, as though it were a dialogue between two halves of himself.
Damien Jurado: Caught In The Trees
"Caught In the Trees" marks the dawn of a new era for Damien Jurado. It may not be a huge departure from some of his past albums musically, but lyrically Jurado has taken a giant leap forward and there is no turning back. Best known for his dark yet fragile first person fictional tales, Jurado now unlocks the door and invites us into his own enigmatic world with an energy and intensity that is all-consuming.Jurado took a full year to make this record, longer than ever before, as he ran away from and eventually found himself in his own songs. He subsequently found refuge in sharing the songs with his closest friends and bandmates, Eric Fisher and Jenna Conrad. Having walked alongside him through this most challenging journey, the songs that came out of it are as much theirs as his. Jurado, Fisher, and Conrad collaborated on the compositions - some much more rocking than Jurado fans are used to, but ever as intense - and pulled in producers Kory Kruckenberg and Casey Foubert to contribute their own unique stylings. Recording started in the summer months and the sweltering heat, and wrapped in the freezing temps of winter. (It is clear on first listen that two distinct seasons are represented through "Caught In the Trees" - an accidental metaphor perhaps?) There was laughter and there was introspection, and the result is a record that Jurado loyalists will find was worth the wait. And perhaps a reason to listen for those who have yet to give this bedraggled storyteller a chance.
Damien Jurado: And Now That I'm In Your Shadow
On his new album "And Now That I'm In Your Shadow", Jurado once again is calling us out to meet him. With the help of now permanent members Eric Fisher and Jenna Conrad, Damien has taken on a new side to his career. No longer is Damien Jurado just another solo artist but a band. Rarely from now on will any live performance just include a man with his ideas and guitar but a continuous collaboration in lyrics and sound creating a backdrop to a world that is filled with desperation and blessings, life discovered and life that is lost.Together they will lead you into the lyrical world of the forgotten faces that you once knew. The songs are old friends and close relatives, quarreling loves and love lost, the very thoughts that cross your mind when you are alone or among the crowd. Forever in your shadow and trapped between the lines that you write down, Damien Jurado is still here and going nowhere
Damien Jurado: On My Way to Absence
There comes a time in every artist's career when he disconnects himself from the public. Fans, friends, critics, they'll all be left behind in the creative process; maybe for only a spell, maybe forevermore. When that break happens, it's both liberating and terrifying. With On My Way To Absence, Damien Jurado has made such a break. He hung up the phone and left it lying there on the counter, and in the process has created a quintessential Jurado piece of work; a masterpiece by one of today's most incredible voices.Stripped of any inclination or genre-adopting (his past albums deliberately each wore a different cloak: Waters Ave S's pop, Rehearsals For Departure's folk-rock, Ghost of David's ambient-experimentalism, I Break Chairs' rock, and Where Shall You Take Me?'s americana), On My Way To Absence is the sound of Jurado and long-time collaborator Eric Fisher locked in a mental space for four months, periodically inviting friends (including Rosie Thomas, Crooked Fingers frontman Eric Bachman, and familiar faces Josh Golden, Seth Warren, David Broecker, Casey Foubert and Andy Myers) in to contribute to the piece, but ultimately just the two of them immersed in the canvas. Stripped of a hope to please, Jurado journeyed inward and veered into darker and darker territory. On My Way To Absence has ultimately become what Jurado refers to as "a tribute to jealousy". It approaches a dangerous ledge and by the album's end, with the powerful "A Jealous Heart is a Heavy Heart", the listener is left somewhat dangling in a scary place. In the past, Jurado may have been concerned with leaving listeners in such a precarious position, but the beauty of On My Way To Absence is that it does not make such calculations. It just builds & builds, raccoon-eyed & bleary. When the needle raises at the end of side two, one wonders if there'll ever be another side. This is the sort of story that is created in an artistic vacuum, the sort of insularity that artists such as Jandek and the Microphones have creating wonderful albums within. It's a dark portrait that would fit well on the plaster walls of a Fassbinder home, right next to Lou Reed's Berlin in terms of sheer emotional audacity. He finds the quick truth, the good stuff, and he sings it from his gut. Such is the magic of Damien Jurado.
Damien Jurado: Just In Time For Something
It's a special thing when you're hearing new Damien Jurado songs for the first time. May you be sitting someplace comfortable for your first time with the five new songs on Just In Time For Something. It's a really beautiful little postcard from Damien's neck of the woods. Self-recorded during a long weekend using a '67 tube-powered reel-to-reel which Damien picked up especially for this EP, these new tunes sound like Alan Lomax field recordings from the mid-60's. Listening to the EP, it feels as though Damien's just in the other room, on the other side of the door, playing new songs and hitting them spot on for the first time. You can hear him catch his stride and lose himself in these beautiful songs. His voice is that of an angel. Just as Nick Drake was able to convey that complicated sense of uplifting sorrow in his songs and in his voice, Jurado has both the songwriting and the performance gift. "Motion Sickness" is vintage Jurado, with its love tale wagging slowly before you. Jurado's new full-length "On My Way to Absence" will be released in early 2005.
Damien Jurado: Where Shall You Take Me?
Damien Jurado is the sort of songwriter who straddles rock's past and future, and with each record contributes a new chapter to an ever-fruitful body of work. His latest offering Where Shall You Take Me? is his fifth full-length, and is a beautiful collection of ten Raymond Carver-esque vignettes terror and bliss in Middle America. Two decades after Springsteen's Nebraska, Jurado puts the darker, more complicated side of the heartland back on the map with his tales of young love (some requited; some not), innocent fun and bloodshed. Mostly acoustic with very sparse band arrangements ? with the notable exception being the old live favorite "Texas to Ohio," which sounds like a Scarecrow-era Mellencamp hit ? Jurado has the songwriting talent that turns back the hands of time and places the listener in a timeless place in which his tunes sound like they've been floating around and passed down from generation to generation, not unlike Gillian Welch, Richard Buckner or Lucinda Williams.