the only bill callahan album i’m familiar with is his smog release of a river ain’t too much to love. and it’s just as well, since his recent live album which i’ve been listening to quite a bit lately – rough travel for a rare thing – features a rather generous selection of songs from that record. the outdoor themes he loves to explore (particularly horses) is usually lost on me, a hopeless city dweller who’s only ridden on a horse once in his life. yet, the way he performs the songs, especially live, captures perfectly the ebb and flow of the moods, emotions and yearnings of the country life i’ll never fully understand. in “let me see the colts”, his sense of pace and timing is impeccable, and his simple use of repetition in melody so entrancing, especially when delivered with his trademark deadpan baritone that speaks knowingly of a wearisome drudgery while echoing in the stillness of the air. – dan.
rough travel for a rare thing is out now on drag city in both vinyl and digital formats.