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Bill Callahan - Dream River

  by Carl Bookstein

published: 31 / 10 / 2013

Bill Callahan - Dream River
Label: Drag City
Format: CD


Contemplative and lyrical acoustic latest album from former Smog front man, Bill Callahan

From painting names on boats, to flying small planes to ordering drinks in a hotel bar, Bill Callahan’s characters on the new album 'Dream River' tell stories. Callahan tells these stories with a natural, lived in voice befitting his muse. The album opener 'The Sing' starts smoothly - Callahan, essentially a true and unique folk singer unravelling a yarn about the hotel bar and the only words he spoke today, “beer” and “thank you.” Callahan comments earnestly: “I’ve got limitations like Marvin Gaye.” This is very acoustic music. The singer’s easy, weathered voice brings to mind Leonard Cohen and the late Terry Callier as well. Clearly a very contemplative lyricist, Callahan’s poetic words somehow indeed conjure a dream river - always flowing. 'Small Plane' is an album highlight. The lyrics are crystal clear and warming. “I really am a lucky man, flying this small plane,” Callahan movingly philosophizes, while capturing the imagery of learning to fly. On 'Spring' Callahan’s lyrical rhythms evoke jazz. The singer comes across as some kind of spiritual warrior, who has won his share of wisdom. Painting boats on 'Summer Painter', the singer earnestly tells his story of socking away some money for a rainy day: “Rich man’s folly and poor man’s dreams/I painted these.” 'Seagull' is the tale of a weary journeyman, told with lyrical and acoustic precision, as the narrator speaks of the weight of the world slipping away. An album highlight, 'Winter Road' opens with a singing fiddle. It is an evocative closer about dangerous roads and the world spinning heavy and slow. The narrator is heading home, while reflecting on beauty and keeping on. Callahan captures lyrical snapshots with poetry and meaning. 'Dream River' is his very effective camera.

Track Listing:-
1 The Sing
2 Javelin Unlanding
3 Small Plane
4 Spring
5 Ride My Arrow
6 Summer Painter
7 Seagull
8 Winter Road

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