This year is turning out some extraordinary music, I can’t keep up with it. The latest set to prove a revelation, is the Apocalypse album from Bill Callahan, aka previously as Smog, released last month. He has been producing his lo-fi and experimental tinged music for over ten years now, for the great part on the Drag City label to which he still adheres along with his friend Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy/Will Oldham. Indeed there are wonderful aural links between these two extraordinary artists. Callahan has also attracted the label as the post-punk’s generation of Leonard Cohen and whilst this is a little facile, the laconic baritone and introspective if not introverted lyrics, do have echoes of one another.
This album has both an inward looking examination and sentiment but within the context of being pulled to the wide open spaces, horses and buffalo, and the sense of returning to the important elemental things whose acknowledgement is essential to find a place to settle.
The music itself is glorious and uplifting – Callahan’s wonderful voice, the sparsely but carefully used piano, drums, fiddle and that most difficult of things, a wonderfully distorted and emotional guitar that plays its part so effectively but without overwhelming these intimate songs.
The final track, One Fine Morning, is as affecting and confessional a song as you might wish to hear, as a better man than I said, “seems as close as a Bill Callahan album is ever going to get to a riding-off-into-the-sunset moment.”
oh and a huge thank you to @amyebutterworth for the heads up here….
and one more thing – some good pix and a couple of clips of Bill at the Cafe de la Danse in Paris on this tour, courtesy of Stephane and Virgins and Philistines
Bill Callahan – Drover