Damien Jurado

Though he currently resides in much greener pastures, singer-songwriter Damien Jurado seems to have a pretty solid connection to the Grand Canyon State, specifically a few of our dustiest locales. He sang about an Arizona gal on his 1997 debut St. Waters Ave, in a song called "Yuma, AZ," and more recently mentioned my hometown of Coolidge in one of his most heartbreaking songs, "What Were the Chances" from 2006's And Now That I'm in Your Shadow. The connection makes Jurado's Raymond Carver-esque tales of lowdown America feel especially visceral, but Jurado doesn't need geographical specificity to drive home his tales of cheating wives, murdering outlaws, and broke, lost, drifting souls. His latest release, Saint Bartlett, finds him working with singer-songwriter Richard Swift, who brings out a kookier, more playful side to Jurado's tales. Check out "Arkansas," with its clinking barroom production, or "Cloudy Shoes," which finds him getting in touch with his inner Scott Walker by using lilting strings and a call-and-response duet with himself. Touring in support of the new album, Jurado has enlisted a full backing band to replicate the intricacies and close-to-home references that have drawn listeners into his world, one that looks suspiciously like our own.

 
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