Damien Jurado

Album Title: On My Way To Absence
Release Date: April 5, 2005
Rating:
Genre: Singer/Songwriter
"Who's that singing," my dad asks, as I play Damien Jurado's newest in hopes of finding a few words to say about it. I answer him, and he replies in a slightly confused tone, "Oh, it sounds like an old-time singer". That pretty much sums up Jurado - heck, even the press release says that he transcends time, so one point goes to dear old dad. Jurado's music is timeless, but in the sense that Shakespeare is timeless; we all pretend to know exactly what's going on in Hamlet, when really, Shakespeare's peers had no clue either. Now that's timelessness: a piece of work that no one will ever truly get, no matter how many hundreds of years it's studied.

Almost unwittingly beautiful, On My Way To Absence is essentially a model of perfection for those who would prefer their singer/songwriters to keep the saccharine at bay, and at the same time not come off as a "walking tragedy" poseur. Housed in the fortress of folk-rock, the 12 tracks of Absence manage to fill both requirements, while definitely residing on the forlorn side of the tracks. Admittedly a new Jurado fan (yes, a fan), I wonder how I missed out on him after SIX proper albums in the past decade. After all, it's quite possible that "Lottery" will be one of my favourite tracks of '05, for all the reasons listed above. Consider the song's chorus: "Now I hear your widow crying/Her weeping I made into this song/It's popular with the disco dancers/They'll play it on the radio all week long/All week long". I don't get it. But I like it.

Writer: Jaclyn Arndt


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