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

Robyn Hitchcock: I Often Dream of Trains in New York (Yep Rock/Southbound DVD)

Robyn Hitchcock: I Often Dream of Trains in New York (Yep Rock/Southbound DVD)

Robyn Hitchcock is one of those enjoyably intellectual, slightly eccentric English singer-songwriters who are either central to your life or barely come to your attention. He first made his... > Read more

Superturtle: About the Sun (Ode)

Superturtle: About the Sun (Ode)

Mainman behind Superturtle Darren McShane certainly has prior form, among other things he formed Chainsaw Masochist (on Flying Nun, for those old enough to remember) and more recently he was in... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Kakogawa, Japan: Taking the heat

Kakogawa, Japan: Taking the heat

Wisdom is not -- perhaps fortunately - contagious. But of that triumvirate of desires alongside fame and wealth it might be the most valuable and so actually be worth working toward. At the end of... > Read more

Sarah Vaughan: After You've Gone (1963)

Sarah Vaughan: After You've Gone (1963)

Some very serious jazz people don't take British pianist/singer Jamie Cullum very seriously. They point out he also sings pop, his repertoire includes songs by the White Stripes and hip-hop artists... > Read more