Bill Callahan: Dream River (Drag City/Universal)

 |   |  <1 min read

Bill Callahan: Spring
Bill Callahan: Dream River (Drag City/Universal)

The final song on this short, emotionally dense album finds our weary, baritone narrator driving home in winter, listening to a Donald Sutherland interview on the truck radio as “time itself means nothing”.

In this simple moment – as a slow fiddle keens supportively – he realises when things are beautiful you should just keep on with it.

If Callahan's elliptical Apocalypse album two years ago (which he describes as skeletal) lost listeners after the superb Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle (09), Dream River is the one to come back for.

In the opener The Sing he's in a hotel bar and in conversational mood (“the only words I've said today are 'beer' and 'thank you' ”) and admits he has limitations “like Marvin Gaye”.

But thereafter this album frees itself from the earth (literally on the pleasure of flight on the seductively slow Small Plane) as our narrator explores moments of truth and revelation through images and metaphors, taking pleasure in life itself while jazzy flute, featherlight slide guitar and a spacious weightlessness add to the allusive poetry (the visually powerful Spring).

And there is a wide-angle look back at a moment in his life on Summer Painter which may give you a useful reference point. 

Imagine the exploratory spirit of a darker Astral Weeks recast by a reflective, worldwise 47-year old living in Texas.

Hypnotic.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Jeffrey Foucault: Ghost Repeater (Signature)

Jeffrey Foucault: Ghost Repeater (Signature)

Not sure where this album has been -- it was recorded in 2005 and released in the rest of the world the following year - but it has just turned up in my letterbox. Produced by Bo Ramsey (a... > Read more

Sun Kil Moon: Universal Themes (Caldo Verde)

Sun Kil Moon: Universal Themes (Caldo Verde)

When my oldest son in London recently told me that he was going to see Sun Kil Moon (aka Mark Kozelek) in concert I said something to the effect, that'll be cheerful, a bundle of laughs. That... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

SHARON O'NEILL ACKNOWLEDGED (2017): This heart, this song, this legend

SHARON O'NEILL ACKNOWLEDGED (2017): This heart, this song, this legend

Sharon O'Neill – this year's inductee into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame at the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards – is a singular talent. And in the late Seventies and early... > Read more

1950s RADIO IN COLOUR; THE LOST PHOTOGRAPHS OF DEEJAY TOMMY EDWARDS by CHRISTOPHER KENNEDY

1950s RADIO IN COLOUR; THE LOST PHOTOGRAPHS OF DEEJAY TOMMY EDWARDS by CHRISTOPHER KENNEDY

Cleveland, Ohio has a formidable reputation as a rock'n'roll city -- today it is the home of the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame and Museum -- but you'd have to guess there was more to it than just that... > Read more