8 Songs, 40 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Dream River is Bill Callahan’s 16th (or so) release, including those he recorded as Smog. His music is mysterious and intense. Even after 25 years, it remains filled with surprises. Where in the past Callahan has thrived on repetition, here nothing is static. Dream River is sublime in its subtlety; each word and pause feels essential. The instruments are in sync with Callahan’s drowsy and understated baritone, and the arrangements fully support the freeform lyrics and open song structures. The music is lush and the backing band inspired, particularly the remarkable guitar work of Matt Kinsey. His guitar tones play off Callahan’s vocals beautifully as keyboards, flute, congas, and percussion add texture and motion on standouts like “Javelin Unlanding” and “Spring.” Another highlight is the opening “The Sing,” a Callahan classic featuring pedal steel, electric guitar, country fiddle, and a hint of mariachi rhythm. Dream River is an affecting album that ranks among Callahan’s best work.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Dream River is Bill Callahan’s 16th (or so) release, including those he recorded as Smog. His music is mysterious and intense. Even after 25 years, it remains filled with surprises. Where in the past Callahan has thrived on repetition, here nothing is static. Dream River is sublime in its subtlety; each word and pause feels essential. The instruments are in sync with Callahan’s drowsy and understated baritone, and the arrangements fully support the freeform lyrics and open song structures. The music is lush and the backing band inspired, particularly the remarkable guitar work of Matt Kinsey. His guitar tones play off Callahan’s vocals beautifully as keyboards, flute, congas, and percussion add texture and motion on standouts like “Javelin Unlanding” and “Spring.” Another highlight is the opening “The Sing,” a Callahan classic featuring pedal steel, electric guitar, country fiddle, and a hint of mariachi rhythm. Dream River is an affecting album that ranks among Callahan’s best work.

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