Dec 15, 2019

Best of 2019 • Bill Callahan • Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest

The voice murmuring in our ear, with shaggy-dog and other kinds of stories, is an old friend so fine to hear from again. Bill’s gentle, spacey take on folk and roots music is like no other; scraps of imagery, melody and instrumentation tumble suddenly together in moments of true human encounter.

I never thought I’d make it this far
Little old house, recent model car
And I’ve got the woman of my dreams
And an imitation Eames
And I signed Willie’s guitar!
He sang, Hey good lookin’ whatcha got cookin’
And I signed Willie’s guitar
When he wasn’t looking!

The idea of communal befuddlement and communal peace has been present in Callahan’s discography for a while. For me, hearing him and his wife sing “Lonesome Valley” as a duet, their voices never quite melding, but each nonetheless lifting the other, is a moving argument for partnership as a guiding, palliative force—a way to keep on, alone, together. TNY

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