Song of the Day: Damien Jurado – Gillian Was A Horse

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Every Friday, the Song of the Day podcast spotlights local musicians. Today‚Äôs featured selection, chosen by Afternoon Show host Kevin Cole is “Gillian Was A Horse” by Seattle folk rocker Damien Jurado from his latest album Caught In The Trees available on Secretly Canadian.

Damien Jurado – Gillian Was A Horse (MP3)

Damien Jurado is perhaps best known for writing brutally honest first person fictional tales. This latest effort takes Jurado into new territories, where for the first time he turns his knowing eye inward and compiles an album with more personal stories weaved into the lyrics. “Gillian Was A Horse” is the first track on this, his 9th full-length album, released earlier this month. Undoubtedly, the album was a labor of love, having taken over a year to put together and featuring contributions from now-permanent bandmates Eric Fisher (who has also worked with Rosie Thomas & has his own clothing line) and Jenna Conrad (also worked with Jeremy Enigk, Siberian, and her own acoustic band, Troubletown). Conrad and Fisher have already worked with Jurado frequently over the years and know many of the stories that are featured in this collection, so their familiarity make their collaboration seem much more natural for Jurado, who usually writes alone.

Long time fans may remember when Jurado got his start in the mid 90’s as he began releasing lo-fi folk recordings on his cassette-only label Casa Recordings. After these recordings earned him a small cult following, he caught the attention of another Seattle music staple Jeremy Enigk (then in Sunny Day Real Estate), who brought Jurado’s work to the folks at Sub Pop, the label that ended up releasing his first two albums. Damien is known for making use of found sound and experimenting with different field recording techniques. His 2000, Ghost of David, effort employed audio fragments he found on thrift store tape players and answering machines. In fact, one of Jurado’s songs, “Ohio,” was covered by CocoRosie on the 2005 for The Believer compilation (a great comp of cool artists covering other cool artists) and recorded entirely on an answering machine tape. That particular issue of The Believer is out of print now, but most likely there are still versions of the song floating around the internet for completists to find. Damien Jurado and co. just ended the West Coast leg of their Fall North American tour last weekend in Seattle at The Triple Door and are heading to Chicago next week. For a complete list of dates, visit their MySpace page or his website. Here he is performing “Last Rights,” also from the new album, while down in Portland:

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  1. Posted January 21, 2009 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    I just have to say this was a wonderful review and so nice to see this feature. I only want to add that Damien is also in a band with his brother, Drake, and the name of the band is Hoquiam. It’s raw and beautiful poetry set to music.

    Everyone should hear Hoquiam. They’re playing on your radio station on January 31st. I repeat: everyone should listen.

  2. Leigh
    Posted January 22, 2009 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the comment. It’s funny, I got notified of your comment while watching Damien Jurado last night….I will definitely check it out, thanks for the heads up!


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