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. Each and every Friday we offer songs by local artists. Today’s selection, featured on the Morning Show with John Richards, is “Arkansas” by Damien Jurado from his latest release Saint Bartlett available on Secretly Canadian.
Sometimes the recording process can be just as cathartic as songwriting. Local story-teller-in-song Damien Jurado discovered just that as he went into the studio with label-mate Richard Swift whom he only had only known in passing. What he discovered in Richard was a musical soulmate, as Damien’s wife/photographer/manager Sarah described, Damien and Richard are “two like-minded artists who can (literally, I can’t exaggerate this point) talk for days.” Jurado and Swift bonded over music among other things and the closeness that developed between them helped Damien open new portals within his music and gave him a sense of freedom that translates into what you hear on the album. “For the first time in my years of playing music,” writes Jurado on his blog, “I felt able to really look at the songs.” Fans of Jurado’s previous work won’t be disappointed. True to his nature, many of these songs feature his brutal honesty and heart-wrenching lyrics as he explores his own dark moments and hopeful times set to Spector-esque music. Today’s song, “Arkansas,” is sparse and haunting yet juxtaposed against an upbeat percussion.
It was recently announced that Mr. Jurado will be embarking upon a national tour in support of Saint Bartlett with fellow Seattle-ites Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground, who will also act as his backing band. The tour kicks off on May 29th at The Triple Door. Other dates can be found on his website but not on his MySpace page, which he seems to have abandoned.
Here’s Damien Jurado being interviewed by City Arts editor Mark Baumgarten for The Song Show at the Triple Door, in which he talks about working with Richard Swift on the new album and performs the song “Pear”: