Just getting into the new Bill Callahan album “Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle” which is due on April 14th through Drag City. While it is definitely Bill, it is a new Bill Callahan – He might have soared like said eagle and just maybe moved on from the classic Smog sound. Okay, he isn’t straying too drastically, but I mean Smog from the 1990’s and early 2000’s. I am a big fan of various older albums, with “A Doctor Came At Dawn” and “Knock, Knock” from the 90’s being favourites and “A River Ain’t too Much Too Love”, “Supper” from the 00’s coming in a close 3rd and 4th. Sorry I just thought you all should know…you must listen to Smog PRIOR to listening to the new Bill Callahan. I know he has not really been Smog for a few years now, and “Woke on a Whale Heart” got pretty good press, but I found it a transition type album for me. Good but not great.
However, the new album does show huge potential with tracks such as “All Thoughts Are Prey To Some Beast” showing a modern day Callahan excelling in true form. While obviously there is much more production value on newer releases, you can still feel that baritone reverberate in your very soul when he begins his stories. I say “stories” as I find him a storyteller as opposed to a singer/songwriter – he tends to harmonize his talking voice as his signature delivery – the man doesn’t “sing” he “performs”. Well, I am going to always pine for “All Your Women Things” or “You Moved In” and “Spread Your Bloody Wings” and even “Four Hearts in a Can” from 1996’s “A Doctor Came At Dawn” – so listen to a few Smog albums (if you haven’t already) before sinking into the new Bill Callahan, it will make all the difference.
On that note, the great video above is for “I Break Horses” and in turn I have included a nice live performance from Buenos Aires last September for the very same track. Stunning.
p.s. You can check out the lead off track, “Eid Ma Clack Shaw” from Bill Callahan’s New album right here on Slowcoustic on a Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy post from last week – click here!