Bill Callahan | Gold Record
For his first record in… just a little over a year, Bill Callahan gives us his first ‘Gold Record’. 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.
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? 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 of songs. Spirits were high. Six out of the ten tracks 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.