Monday, December 19, 2022

Albums of the Year # 7 Bill Callahan -YTILAER



Bill Callahan occupies a certain space these days, having worked and refined his persona in a particular direction down the years. He's determinedly old school, and latest record Reality speaks from a similar place to previous albums down the years in seeming to have more in common with classic Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Neil Young and Leonard Cohen records than much that is being released in 2022 although his records never entirely seem to fit in the Sixties or Seventies either, maintaining a mordant, ironic, and (apologies), post-modern quality. 

I've been very much taken taken with everything I've heard down the years either under his own name or for his first decade as a recording artist when he recorded under the Smog moniker. He's always had a specific, spartan talent, allowing the listener to disengage from their external reality and fully feel and experience the space in his songs.

Reality comes late in the year, but I imagine it will feature prominently in end of year run downs. It certainly will do in mine. It makes a strong claim for classic status on first play. Callahan operates on a much higher level than most musicians are capable of.

It's classic Callahan. Twelve minimal, moody American Folk and Country streams of consciousness that have an almost Old Testament feel to them. If everyone could do this, they probably would but he's in very specific company these days. Nick Cave, Bonnie Prince Charlie otherwise, my mind goes blank. Of younger artists, Big Thief and Kevin Morby come to mind.

The specific quality Callahan brings to the table is a dry, biting wit that you could cut bread with. Reality is another fine addition to his quite masterful body of work. He's truly a craftsman. One to get to know better over the winter months.

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