Greetings to you, the lucky finder of this Gold(en) Record, from Mr. Bill Callahan! I shake you warmly by the hand! Tremendous things are in store for you, many wonderful surprises await you!
For his first record in….uh, well, just over a year (woot!), Bill Callahan gives us a Gold Record. They might not all be gold, and fortunately, they’re not all six years apart either. You could probably ALSO call it “Gold Records”: the songs all have a stand-alone feel, the way singles do, for you to have a deep encounter with ’em all of a sudden, a whole relationship, from the start of the song to the finish. And what do you got when you have a record full of singles – and let’s face it, hit singles, at that? That’s a Gold Record there, hoss.
For Bill, preparing to tour for Shepherd In a Sheepskin Vest meant considering being away from home for long stretches of time – months, seasons, maybe as much as a year, who knew? Feeling his oats, Bill pulled out a few sketches from the notebooks and finished them up some. Before he knew it, he was recording them, and in the shuffle, new songs started popping up too.
It happened fast. Basics were recorded live, with Matt Kinsey playing guitars, guitars, guitars and Jaime Zurverza holding it down (then letting it go) on bass. Drums and horns were brought in for a couple songs. Spirits were high! Six out of the ten tunes were done first take; overdubs, when needed, came equally quickly. Listening, one hears the intuitive cohesion coming together richly, back of Bill’s titanic voice spread across the stereo spectrum: the gentle-yet-spirited conversation of Bill and Matt’s guitars, the subtle percussing of bass and drums and oddments of trumpet, woodwind and synth, striking notes decorous and discordant, sounding for all the world like the naturally occurring sound meant to accompany and express lives lived everywhere.