Speakers Push Air

Album Of The Year #3
December 31, 2013, 4:00 pm
Filed under: 2013 Albums Of The Year | Tags:

03. Bill Callahan – Dream River (Drag City)

2013-12-30 12.23.26

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but sometimes Bill Callahan’s albums slip past me. I barely remember listening to his last one Apocalypse. It’s not even like he’s as prolific as he used to be. But when I make time and really burrow into his albums, I generally get a bit obsessed about them. Dream River is no different. His lushest yet – flutes and strings and keyboards, flirting with a kind of jazzy sophistication that makes me nervous, in case a Steely Dan phase is in the offing, but really sounding warm and woody like early 70s Van Morrison. And Callahan’s voice is richer and deeper than ever. Then there’s the lyrics, some of the very best he’s ever written. Summer Painter reads like a short story. It IS a short story.

I painted names on boats for a summer
For luck, you keep the same first letter
You don’t want, you don’t want, you don’t want bad luck at sea
Rich Man’s Folly and Poor Man’s Dream
I painted these while beavers built dams all around me
And come September, come Fall
Holding a job was not believable behavior at all, so I split
But like a beaver is a dam builder, you never really quit
I made some dough and I socked it away
I always said for a rainy day
I never truly knew who I was working for anyway
The rich or the poor?
Who am I working for?
The rich or the poor?

When the hurricane hit
Some found it suspicious that I’d just since left the frame
Like all that time spent down by the water
Had somehow given me control over the rain
And some people say wrongly that I’ve wash things away
Guess I got my rainy day

Like a sorcerer’s cape!
The rain ripped the lips
Off the mouth of the bay
And rendered the eye
And sleighted the hand
And tricked the land
And blew the air away
Then came a quiet
No one should know

Rich Man’s Folly and Poor Man’s Dream
I’m painting these while beavers build dams all around me


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