Bill Callahan - Gold Record
Bill Callahan - Gold Record

Bill Callahan - Gold Record

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The impressionistic one-liners should be studied, his empathy and humour are quite a marvel. Gold Record is solid gold and it's our September Album of the Month.

Description

For his first record in….uh, well, just a little over a year (!), Bill Callahan’s given us his first Gold Record. They can’t all be gold, and they’re not all six years apart either — all good! You could probably call the album “Gold Records,” too: all the songs have a stand-alone feel, like singles, meant for you to have a deep encounter with all of a sudden, from the start of the song to the finish. And what do you got when you have a record full of singles — and let’s face it, hit singles, at that?

That’s a Gold Record for you.

From the top, it’s clear this is music with an affection for people, as Bill immediately slips easily and deeply into his characters. Among them: a limo driver, a watcher of television, a suitor, a man in a broken-down car, a reader of books, a Ry Cooder superfan, and in the closing number, a wanderer who “notices when people notice things”. The voices of the people, with their ups and downs, their loss and laughter. You can feel the love.

For Bill, preparing to tour for 'Shepherd In a Sheepskin Vest' meant considering being away from home for long stretches of time — maybe up to a year, who knew? Feeling his oats, Bill pulled out a few sketches from over the years and touched them up. Before he knew it, he was recording them, and in the shuffle, newer songs started popping up.

It happened fast. Basics were recorded live with Matt Kinsey playing guitars, guitars, guitars and Jaime Zurverza holding it down “and then letting it go” on bass. Drums and horns were brought in for a couple songs. Spirits were high! Six out of the ten were done first take; overdubs, when needed, came equally quickly. Listening, one hears their intuitive cohesion coming together richly behind Bill’s titanic voice spread across the stereo spectrum: the gentle conversation of Bill and Matt’s guitars, the subtle percussion of the bass and drums, and odd appearances of trumpet, woodwind and synth, striking notes both decorous and discordant, sounding for all the world like the naturally occurring sound meant to accompany and express lives lived everywhere.

These are in fact songs meant for other people to sing — but until they do, Bill’s got this. He’s got a secret on this one, and before we go, we don’t mind sharing it with you: he’s figured out how to perfectly place his voice in proximity to your ear. It’s based on the distance from your heart to your brain. Simple! Why don’t more people think like this?

Pigeons
Another Song
35
Protest Song
The Mackenzies
Let's Move To The Country
Breakfast
Cowboy
Ry Cooder
As I Wander

Artist: Bill Callahan
Label: Drag City
Catalogue: DC760
Barcode: 0781484076018
Format: LP, CD or Tape
Release Date: 4th September 2020
   
"On his latest solo record, the singer-songwriter continues his quiet excavation of self and the tumultuous world around him, exploring how a supposedly ordinary life is often anything but."
8.0
 
                   
"time to join the pantheon of great American singer-songwriters"
★★★★★
 
                   

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Alongside a weekly playlist of new and old tracks (tune in via the news section), all of the Drift staff also contribute to a weekly 'Drift Recommends' playlist.

Updated every Friday, it's full of new tracks that we love, absolute bangers that have popped back into our heads and all sorts of other weird avenues. It is supposed to sound a little bit like that feeling of walking through the door at Drift.

You can subscribe to it via our Spotify public profile.