Bill Callahan — Dream River (2013)

 Bill Callahan — Dream River (2013)

Bill Callahan — Dream River

Official logo "NOMINATED ARTISTS & WORKS" for 7th Tais Awards 2014
♠  Ol' man Eagle is back, floatin' Apocalyptically on a Whaleheart down the Dream River. Eight gentle percolations fire the pressure-cooker of life, dialing us into the Callahanian mind— and soul—set. Deep like aqua, soulful like man and animal alike.
♠  Solo billing for the leader of Smog to continue his reflective songwriting, but with gospel, soul, and pop elements.
Birth name: William Rahr Callahan
Also known as: Smog
Born: June 3, 1966, Silver Spring, Maryland, United States
Location: Silver Spring, MD ~ Knaresborough in England's North Riding of Yorkshire ~ Austin, TX
Album release: September 17, 2013
Recording date: January 2013
Record Label: Drag City (Catalog # DC553)
Duration:     40:06
Tracks:
01 The Sing     4:32 
02 Javelin Unlanding     3:48 
03 Small Plane     3:56 
04 Spring     5:10 
05 Ride My Arrow     5:03 
06 Summer Painter     6:30 
07 Seagull     5:39 
08 Winter Road     5:29
CREDITS:
♠  Brian Beattie  Mixing, Percussion, Piano (Upright)
♠  Brad Bell  Mixing Assistant
♠  Bill Callahan  Composer, Drawing, Guitar, Primary Artist, Vocals
♠  Beth Galiger  Flute
♠  Thor Harris  Claves, Congas, Drums
♠  Chojo Jacques  Fiddle
♠  Matt Kinsey  Guitar
♠  Paul Ryan  Cover Painting
♠  Roger Seibel  Mastering
♠  Erik Wofford  Engineer
♠  Jaime Zuverza  Bass, Organ, Wurlitzer
¶   On “America!”, a standout track from his 2011 album Apocalypse, Bill Callahan saluted, in his warm, inimitable baritone, to “Captain Kristofferson,” “Buck Sergeant Newbury,” “‘Leatherneck’ Jones” and “Sergeant Cash.” As tributes to heroes go, it reflects both a reverence and appreciation for kitsch that’s entirely in character for a songwriter like Callahan.
¶   Yet, were the 47-year-old singer to have been born a few decades earlier, he could have easily been peers with greats like Mickey Newbury or Kris Kristofferson. Over 25 years and 14 albums — not to mention a few self-released cassettes — Callahan has undergone an evolution from making a cozy home in tape-hiss static as Smog, to maturing into a poetic, masculine crooner, carrying the torch of his fantasy-league army buddies while finding his own voice as an irreverent, albeit authoritative storyteller.
¶   Dream River, Callahan’s 14th album — or fourth, since dropping the Smog mantle — initially feels of a similar vintage as recent albums like Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle or Apocalypse, as leadoff track “The Sing” moseys in on a slow shuffle and the rustic weep of a violin. There’s a gentle, yet lush Americana arrangement backing Callahan as he paints a portrait of a late night drink in a hotel bar, observing, “The only words I’ve said today are ‘beer’ and ‘thank you.’” Shortly thereafter, Callahan’s drink order becomes an almost Zen-like mantra as he repeats the couplet, “Beer/ thank you.”
¶   As the album draws on, however, Callahan delves into a more sumptuous and soulful sound, his gentle strums becoming dreamier jazz-fusion riffs, and soft drum shuffles morphing into jazzy, Latin rhythms on tracks like the vibrant “Javelin Unlanding.” And with this transformation, Callahan doesn’t evoke the likes of Johnny Cash so much as the smoky, sexy feel of Tim Buckley’s Happy Sad. Though Callahan isn’t quite as wild and expressive as Buckley was known to be during his short career, his deep voice and attention to richly textured sounds suits this approach splendidly.
¶   In its strongest moments — though there are no real weak moments to speak of — Dream River presents a compelling, gorgeous sonic world in which to get blissfully lost. ¶   “Spring” is one such song, with hypnotic layers of guitar that swirl like opium smoke in some dark, luxurious boudoir. It has more of a lightly psychedelic feel than an erotic one, per se, but it speaks the language of the loins all the same. In one of its most intense, climactic moments, Callahan sings, “And all I wanna do/ Is make love to you/ In the fertile dirt/ With a careless mind.” All that’s missing is the post-coital cigarette.
Even more awe-inspiring is the gorgeous “Summer Painter,” in which Callahan juxtaposes a tale about a summer job painting boats with a cool, atmospheric arrangement that builds to an eruption of feverish intensity. Through its intoxicating mist, Callahan spins an epic yarn that extends from maritime superstition (“For luck you keep the same first letter/ You don’t want… bad luck at sea”) to reflections on class and privilege (“Rich man’s folly and poor man’s dream/ I painted these… I never truly knew who I was working for anyway, the rich or the poor/ Who am I working for?”). ¶   It’s as powerful a song as Callahan has ever written, which is no small feat — his catalog is pretty rich as it is.
¶   Given the musical distance that Callahan has traveled since layering inscrutable folk songs with boombox-queued samples on albums like 1993’s Julius Caesar, the stylistic variations on Dream River don’t represent a total reinvention so much as a different shade within a similar spectrum. It’s a beautiful album on first listen, and each subsequent spin, but as with any of Bill’s recordings, offers deeper layers meaning and detail to unpack with each new drop of the needle. Dream River, as with its recent predecessors, represents a stunning maturity for the singer. Commercially, he’s unlikely to ever be a part of mainstream culture in the same way that Johnny Cash or George Jones were, but here, he continues to prove himself every bit the American musical treasure that his own personal influences were and are.
¶   As Dream River draws to a close on the gorgeously laid-back “Winter Road,” Callahan croons, “When things are beautiful, you just keep on.” Good advice, that — keep on, Sergeant Callahan.
MySpace: https://myspace.com/whaleheart
Label: http://www.dragcity.com/artists/bill-callahan
________________________________________________________________
Artist Biography by Heather Phares
¶   A River Ain't Too Much to Love After almost 20 years of using the alias Smog for his music, Bill Callahan switched to his given name for his releases after 2005's A River Ain't Too Much to Love. The 2007 EP Diamond Dancer and full-length Woke on a Whaleheart both mixed the intimate, reflective, largely acoustic sound of later Smog albums like Supper and A River with gospel, soul, and pop elements, and boasted arrangements by former Royal Trux mastermind Neil Hagerty. For 2009's Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle, Callahan returned to the more intimate acoustic-based sound of latter-era Smog albums, featuring string and brass arrangements by Brian Beattie. ¶   The live album Rough Travel for a Rare Thing arrived in March 2010, and in July Callahan issued his 79-page "epistolary novelette" Letters to Emma Bowlcut, comprised of 62 letters from a nameless protagonist to a woman he saw at a party. ¶   Callahan kicked off 2011 with Apocalypse, a more uptempo collection of seven country- and blues-inspired rock tunes that recalled some of his edgier work with Smog. A softer offering, Dream River, was issued in the fall of 2013.
________________________________________________________________
DISCOGRAPHY:
As Smog:
ο Sewn to the Sky (1990; LP on Disaster)
ο Forgotten Foundation (May 25, 1992; CD on Drag City)
ο Julius Caesar (July 5, 1993; LP/CS/CD on Drag City)
ο Burning Kingdom (September 19, 1994; 12"EP/CDEP/CassEP on Drag City)
ο Wild Love (March 27, 1995; LP/CD on Drag City)
ο The Doctor Came at Dawn (September 10, 1996; LP/CD on Drag City)
ο Red Apple Falls (May 20, 1997; LP/CD on Drag City)
ο Knock Knock (January 12, 1999; LP/CD on Drag City)
ο Dongs of Sevotion (April 4, 2000; 2xLP/CD on Drag City)
ο Rain on Lens (September 18, 2001; LP/CD on Drag City; released as (Smog))
ο Accumulation: None (November 5, 2002; LP/CD on Drag City)
ο Supper (March 18, 2003; LP/CD on Drag City; released as (Smog))
ο A River Ain't Too Much to Love (May 31, 2005; LP/CD on Drag City)
As Bill Callahan:
ο Woke on a Whaleheart (April 17, 2007; LP/CD through Drag City)
ο Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle (April 14, 2009; LP/CD through Drag City)
ο Rough Travel for a Rare Thing (March 23, 2010; 2×LP/MP3/FLAC on Drag City)
ο Apocalypse (April 5, 2011; LP/CD/Digital on Drag City)
ο Dream River (September 17, 2013 on Drag City)
Books:
ο In July 2010 Drag City published Callahan's Letters to Emma Bowlcut, an epistolary novel.
________________________________________________________________
TOUR DATES:
9/22/13 Austin, TX
9/25/13 Houston, TX
9/26/13 Baton Rouge, LA
9/28/13 Athens, GA
9/29/13 Carrboro, NC
10/1/13 Charlottesville, VA
10/2/13 Washington, DC
10/3/13 Philadelphia, PA
10/4/13 Providence, RI
10/5/13 Cambridge, MA
10/6/13 New York, NY
10/8/13 Ithaca, NY
10/9/13 Pittsburgh, PA
10/10/13 Cleveland, OH
10/11/13 Detroit, MI
10/12/13 Madison, WI
10/13/13 Minneapolis, MN
10/14/13 Chicago, IL
10/16/13 St. Louis, MO
10/17/13 Columbia, MO
10/18/13 Springfield, MO
10/19/13 Norman, OK
11/8/13 Austin, TX
11/9/13 Austin, TX
11/12/13 Phoenix, AZ
11/13/13 Pioneertown, CA
11/14/13 Los Angeles, CA
11/15/13 Santa Barbara, CA
11/16/13 San Francisco, CA
11/17/13 San Francisco, CA
11/19/13 Portland, OR
11/20/13 Seattle, WA
11/22/13 Boise, ID
11/23/13 Salt Lake City, UT
11/25/13 Denver, CO
1/31/14 Gateshead, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne
2/1/14 Glasgow
2/2/14 Dublin
2/3/14 Manchester
2/5/14 Leeds
2/6/14 Bristol
2/7/14 London
2/9/14 Copenhagen
2/10/14 Amsterdam
2/11/14 Brussels
2/12/14 Paris
2/14/14 Cologne
2/15/14 Berlin
2/16/14 Munich
2/17/14 St.Gallen
2/18/14 Bologna
2/19/14 Lyon
2/21/14 Valladolid
2/22/14 Lisbon
2/23/14 Porto
2/24/14 Madrid
2/25/14 San Sebastian
2/26/14 Barcelona
________________________________________________________________

Bill Callahan — Dream River (2013)
Bill Callahan — Dream River (2013)

 

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Johanna Warren — Chaotic Good (May 1, 2020)
emozpěv — Spolu (1st May 2020)
THE LEAGUE OF ASSHOLES — UNPLUGGED (1st May 2020)
Morgan1
Zuzana Mikulcová — Slová
The Fratellis — Half Drunk Under A Full Moon (8th May, 2020)
The Fratellis — Half Drunk Under A Full Moon (8th May, 2020)
Cocteau Twins — Victorialand (April, 1986, Reissue 2020)
Coloured Clocks — Flora (May 2, 2020)
I Break Horses — Warnings (08 May 2020)
Hawkwind — Acoustic Daze (25 Oct. 2019)
Indoor Voices — Animal (Feb. 14, 2020)
I Break Horses — Chiaroscuro
Einstürzende Neubauten — Alles In Allem (May 29th, 2020)
100 Gecs — 1000 gecs (May 31, 2019)
Evergreen — Overseas (15 Jun 2018)
Kurt Rosenwinkel Trio — Angels Around (May 8, 2020)
The Feather — Room (10 July, 2020)
Eyvind Kang — Ajaeng Ajaeng (May 1, 2020)
Eyvind Kang — Ajaeng Ajaeng (May 1, 2020)
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith — The Mosaic of Transformation (May 15, 20
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith — The Kid (October 6, 2017)
Mr. Alec Bowman — I Used to Be Sad & Then I Forgot (May 1, 2020)
György Ligeti — Lontano (22. Oct.,1967)
OWEN PALLETT — Heartland (March 3, 2014)
Badly Drawn Boy — Banana Skin Shoes (22nd May, 2020)
A.O. Gerber — Another Place to Need (May 22, 2020)
Kaleidoscope — Faintly Blowing (11 April 1969, Reissue, Remaster
Perfume Genius — Set My Heart On Fire Immediately (15th May 2020
Perfume Genius — No Shape (5 May, 2017) BC
Perfume Genius — No Shape (5 May, 2017) FC
Sungazers — Wasting Space (May 18, 2020)
Cermaque — Lament (22nd May, 2020)
Mountaineer — Bloodletting (May 22nd, 2020)
Jetstream Pony — Jetstream Pony (May 22, 2020)
Steve Earle — Townes (May 8, 2009)
Steve Earle & The Dukes — Ghosts of West Virginia (May 22, 2020)
Sixth June ‎— Trust (17 Jan 2020)
White Tail Falls — Age of Entitlement (May 29, 2020)
Weyes Blood — “Wild Time” from Titanic Rising
Nicole Atkins — Italian Ice (29 May 2020)
Deerhoof — Future Teenage Cave Artists (May 29, 2020)
Deradoorian — Find the Sun (Sept. 18, 2020)
Bob Dylan — Rough and Rowdy Ways (June 19th, 2020)
The Magnetic Fields — QUICKIES VINYL BOX SET (June 19, 2020)
The Magnetic Fields — QUICKIES VINYL BOX SET (June 19, 2020)
This Will Destroy You — Vespertine (June 9, 2020)
Jake Blount — Spider Tales (May 29, 2020)
Jake Blount — Spider Tales (May 29, 2020)
Yoko Ono, Kim Gordon & Thurston Moore — YOKOKIMTHURSTON
Psychic Markers — Psychic Markers (29 May, 2020)
The Memories — Pickles & Pies (May 29, 2020)
Songs for the Late Night Drive Home (Feb. 5, 2016)
Spc Eco — Dark Matter (Nov. 20, 2015)
SPC ECO — June (June 1, 2020)
Yves Tumor — Heaven to a Tortured Mind (April 3, 2020)
Norah Jones — Pick Me Up Off the Floor (June 12th, 2020)
Larkin Poe — Self Made Man (June 12th, 2020)
Ezra Furman — Sex Education [Original Soundtrack] (April 24, 202
Endless Field — Alive in the Wilderness (June 12, 2020)
Wesley Gonzalez — Appalling Human (June 12, 2020)
Noveller — Arrow (June 12, 2020)
Kim Myhr & Australian Art Orchestra — Vesper (17.04. 2020)
Kim Myhr & Australian Art Orchestra — Vesper (17.04. 2020)
Andrej Šeban — Triplet (March 22, 2019) inner cover
Andrej Šeban — Triplet (March 22, 2019) cover
The Crossing & Donald Nally — James Primosch: Carthage (05/2020)
Jerskin Fendrix — Winterreise (April 17, 2020)
Zoongideewin — Bleached Wavves (June 19, 2020)
ULRICH SCHNAUSS — A Long Way To Fall — Rebound (3rd April, 2020)
Sports Team — Deep Down Happy (5th June, 2020)
Wrekmeister Harmonies — We Love to Look at the Car (2020)
Midlake — Antiphon (Nov. 4, 2013)
ANASTASIA MINSTER — Father ©Michael Haley
Jessie Ware — Glasshouse (Deluxe; 20 Oct 2017)
Teen Daze — Morning World
Jessie Ware — What’s Your Pleasure (June 26, 2020)
Art Feynman — Half Price At 3:30 (June 26th, 2020)
Bo Ningen — Sudden Fictions (26th June, 2020)
Khruangbin — Mordechai (June 26, 2020)
Pottery — Welcome to Bobby’s Motel (June 26th, 2020)
Orlando Weeks — A Quickening (June 12, 2020)
John Craigie — Asterisk the Universe (June 12, 2020)
Kavus Torabi — Hip to the Jag (May 22, 2020)
Nadine Shah — Kitchen Sink (June 5, 2020)
Paul Weller — On Sunset [Deluxe Edition] (3rd July, 2020)
Corb Lund — Agricultural Tragic (June 26, 2020)
Christine Ott — Chimères (pour ondes Martenot) (May 22, 2020)
The Beths — Jump Rope Gazers (July 10th, 2020)
Ashley Paul — Window Flower (May 13, 2020)
Grey Daze — Amends [Deluxe Edition] (July 3, 2020)
Grey Daze ©Photo credit: Anjella / Sakiphotography
Ajimal — As It Grows Dark / Light (June 26, 2020)
Ajimal — As It Grows Dark Light (June 26, 2020)
Eleanor Friedberger — Rebound (May 4th, 2018)
ELEANOR FRIEDBERGER — NEW VIEW (January 22, 2016)
Immigrant Union — Judas (June 19, 2020)
Julianna Barwick — Healing Is a Miracle [Japan Edition] (2020)
Neil Young & Crazy Horse — Colorado (Oct. 25, 2019)
Neil Young — Homegrown (19th June, 2020)
The Jayhawks — XOXO (July 10, 2020)
Joy Division — Closer (40th Anniversary) [2020 Digital Master] (
Daniel Bachman — The Morning Star (July 27, 2018)
Daniel Bachman — Green Alum Springs (June 6, 2020)
Becca Mancari — The Greatest Part (June 26, 2020)
Ytamo — Vacant (June 12, 2020)
Bright Eyes — Down In The Weeds, Where The World Once Was (Aug.
Thin Lear — Wooden Cave (24th July, 2020)
Devendra Banhart — Vast Ovoid (July 24, 2020)
Cub Sport — LIKE NIRVANA (24 July, 2020)
Sara Serpa — Recognition (June 5th, 2020)
Sara Serpa, Ingrid Laubrock, Erik Friedlander — Close Up (2018)
Klara Lewis — Ingrid (1st May 2020)
Buju Banton — Upside Down (June 26, 2020)
Son Lux — Learning Structures vol. 1~4 (Oct. 11th, 2019)
learning structures, vol. 3 distance between us (Oct. 11, 2019)
learning structures, vol. 2: end firma
learning structures, vol. 3: distance between us
The Boomtown Rats — Citizens of Boomtown (13 March, 2020)
Ralph of London — The Potato Kingdom (19th June, 2020)
Mike Polizze — Long Lost Solace Find (July 31, 2020)
Land of Talk — Indistinct Conversations (July 31, 2020)