Smart Bets web extra: Damien Jurado

Photo by Steve Gullick
Photo by Steve Gullick

If singer-songwriter Damien Jurado looks gruff and stoic, he sings with the kind of emotionalism and aching authenticity that kind of stops time. His songs are not simple. They don’t have the sort of instantly catchy choruses that you sing mindlessly along with. And yet they feel like deep truths, known entities, homecomings. The Seattle-based musician began his career in the mid-’90s; his debut album was released by tastemaker SubPop.

This year’s release, Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son, is his third effort with producer Richard Swift and his eighth on the Secretly Canadian label. The album “zooms out to tell one story, albeit a fantastical, non-linear one cloaked in sci-fi imagery and layers of mystery,” says Paste. “Characters and incidents and themes roll out and twist and wriggle their way through the album.”

“If there’s an occasional fatuity to the nostalgia of the recent folk revival, it’s one that Jurado avoids, partly through the strength of the album’s attentive production,” says Slant Magazine. “Brothers and Sisters is full of the same lush psychedelia as that band’s Port of Morrow, with Swift’s keyboards and frequent Latin percussion, surrounded by endless nets of reverb, ably supporting Jurado’s layered vocals. The singer’s delivery is more pliant than it’s ever been, moving from the hushed echo-chamber whispers of ‘Silver Malcolm’ to the fuzzed-out shouts of ‘Jericho Road.’ But the real magic is in the melancholy appeal of his daydream, what he calls his ‘temporary Earth’ in ‘Magic Number,’ and the persistent possibility of revelation that Jurado catalogues with grim bravado and wry hope.”

Damien Jurado plays The Grey Eagle on Sunday, April 27, at 9 p.m. Holy Holy Vine also performs. $13 advance/$16 day of show.

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About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts writer and editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs.

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