I had a couple friends who are otherwise quite knowledgeable about music tell me recently that they didn’t know Damien Jurado’s (myspace) music. I didn’t realize this was possible. He’s an amazing songwriter with a knack for including all the right details in his narratives. You probably know all about his stuff, but if you don’t, here’s a primer.
A few years back, back before the rapid-fire consumption of music that you see today, and when I only had enough money to buy one album (or fewer) a month, I tended to give more time to each artist and album and sometimes they grew on me if I didn’t initially like them. Jurado is one of those artists that benefits from time to mull over, I believe.
Definitely start with “Ohio”. An amazing song. Pretty standard fingerpicked songwriter +harmonica song, but a timeless melody and absolutely top rate, crushing lyrics. While his early albums aren’t all just like this, he did have more standard songwriter material plus some indie folk-pop on them.
Damien Jurado – Ohio (mp3) (buy)
In between his early folk songwriter stuff and his more recent ‘gorgeous folk’ material, there was a couple albums of other stuff. ‘Ghost of David’ is an odd hodge podge of an album, ranging wildly from distorted, tense, deeply depressing rockers to folk songwriter fair to traditional songs and songs with some sound collage elements. (The David here is Bazan, btw).
Damien Jurado – Ghost of David (mp3) (buy)
Where Shall You Take Me? is possibly his most stylistically consistent album. It’s sort of Middle American stories within sparse, tumbleweed-blowing-across-the-road songs.
Damien Jurado – Omaha (mp3) (buy)
He doesn’t write all slow and depressing songs. Particularly Water Ave S. (early period) and I Break Chairs (middle period) are more rock oriented. I like some of that stuff too:
Damien Jurado – Yuma, Arizona (mp3) (buy)
His tour comes through town next week at the Bottom of the Hill with Portland folk artist Laura Gibson, who I enjoyed seeing during Noise Pop this year.
5/5 Damien Jurado, Laura Gibson @ Bottom of the Hill, 9:30pm, $10, a/a
Current tour dates:
4/28/09 Denton, TX – Dan’s Silverleaf
4/29/09 Austin, TX – Cactus Cafe
5/1/09 Tucson, AZ – Club Congress
5/2/09 San Diego, CA – Casbah
5/3/09 Los Angeles, CA – Spaceland
5/4/09 Santa Barbara, CA – Muddy Waters
5/5/09 San Francisco, CA – Bottom of the Hill
5/7/09 Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge
5/8/09 Seattle, WA – Crocodile Cafe