Saint Bartlett (Bonus Track Version)
Damien Jurado is a singer-songwriter who over the years has surrounded himself with a variety of backing musicians only to find that his music is left relatively unchanged. Sure, the addition of producer and musician Richard Swift tints Saint Bartlett towards certain sonic textures, but the heart of any Jurado album is Jurado’s voice and the unsettling stories lurking underneath the simple, straight-forward melodies. (That’s a dying person chatting up his mother as the question of life after death is posed on “Kalama.”) “Arkansas” sounds like Jurado’s taking an interest in ‘60s girl-group pop without the girls. “Cloudy Shoes” enjoys a touch of orchestration. “Rachel & Cali” has that lonesome acoustic sound that makes Jurado sound like he should be traversing the heartland or seeking out the ghosts that haunt Jimmy Webb and Glen Campbell’s “Galveston.” “Wallingford” adds a touch of distorted guitar. “Pear” is the sound of ghosts exiting the attic. Jurado’s one of the most consistent songwriters of the past twenty years. His music is singular and a joy to unravel.