Thursday, August 26, 2010

Northwest Territory

I went on a trip to the Northwest part of the continental United States last week. My friend, Peter, was gracious enough to treat me to just about everything while I was out there including half my airfare and a ticket to see Seattle's Damien Jurado play at Mississippi Studios in Portland, which I assume is one of the city's finer venues.

Jurado has been throwing down killer songs of double crossing lovers, haunted memories, and ponies for more than a long time. While his subject matter doesn't always stray very far from the road set out before him, he never seems content to record the same set of songs wrapped in a different package with each new release.

One album might be recorded on a peasant's budget and sound similar to an early Mountain Goat's album, the next might have a full rock band, the next a stripped down, backwoods Mississippi jug-and fiddle accompaniment. Reworking his sound, rather than reinventing himself.

Portland's Dolorean was one of the three openers. They are a pretty solid Americana outfit. Think good parts of Wilco without the obnoxious ego or that extra something that sets them apart from the rest of the herd.

I missed the third opener's name, but he was a Bob Dylan-esque folkie complete with this crazy voice that I can only best describe as a sounding like a slide whistle. My only comment is that he played much longer than anyone else, including Jurado. Perhaps twice as long. Additional note to aspiring musicians/singer/songwriters: If you're going to have the gall to do an encore when you're an opener, please don't make it a 9-minute-plus folk opus about everything.

Literally, EVERYTHING.

When it was over, Peter said that he thought Damien Jurado was like a more literary version of Will Oldham. I agree. So if you like Bonnie "Prince" Billy, you might want to look into some Jurado.

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