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Judson Claiborne

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Judson Claiborne is another name for Christopher Salveter and the music made with his comrades. Salveter began writing songs during the late nineties in his birthplace of St. Charles, Missouri. Soon after, he relocated to Chicago and started a band called Low Skies. Stuart Berman of Pitchfork, in his review of Low Skies’ final record wrote that the band resembled “the sunstroked stumble of Crazy Horse (c.f. "Cortez the Killer") and the Dirty Three's desert-dragging dirges” and “Salveter's distinctive vocal [has] a death-bed confessional tremble that doesn't so much suggest a lump in his throat as a tumor”. Low Skies released three records on the Flameshovel label and toured extensively, notably as support for Neko Case, Band of Horses, Okkervil River, Explosions in the Sky, and The Handsome Family. The first Judson LP, Before Midnight Scholar, self-released in 2008, represented a departure from the gloomy, often devastating Low Skies oeuvre. Its songs present a broader emotional landscape, making space for kazoos, laughter and revelatory expression. Conceived by Salveter on a two-month bicycle tour of Southeast Asia, the record howls reverent delight, and wails laments for lost friends and lovers. Mark Guarino of No Depression wrote: “Before Midnight Scholar has a dreamy quality, though underneath the sophisticated textures of country mysticism is a steely edge that suggests a bottom dropping out at any moment. While the music is continually seductive, its core appeal is Claiborne’s voice, which is as nuanced and filled with tremor as those of Rufus Wainwright and Jeff Buckley”

Time and Temperature, the band’s second LP was released in 2010 by Pennsylvania label La Société Expéditionnaire. This album represents a clear progression into atmospheric rock with dark and dreamy grooves, a string quartet, and a horn section. Narrative elements from the album include a secret and experimental time travel program sanctioned by the US military, a cannibal in love, a portrait of humanitarian work on the US-Mexican border, and a jazz musician’s self-immolation. Songs from Time & Temperature were licensed for use in three independent films, and Judson Claiborne began spending more time on the road, supporting bands like Lower Dens, Iron & Wine, Andrew Bird, Grant Lee Phillips, The Cave Singers, Marketa Irglova, and Cass McCombs. Pete Zimmerman of the Huffington Post named the record, “One of the top ten Chicago albums of 2010 that isn’t Kanye West”.

Salveter completed training as a Yoga teacher in early 2011 and relocated to the Pacific Northwest with the intention of exploring the terrain and writing some new songs. But only six months later, Salveter returned to Chicago to begin arranging and recording for what would be the band’s third LP, We Have Not Doors You Need Not Keys. Salveter became intrigued by the idea that we do more communicating with our physical selves than with language; that the texture and tonality of our voices and the movements of bodies are often more honest than written or spoken language. In presenting We Have Not Doors..., the title speaks to letting our collective guard down in order to communicate.

Marketa Irglova of the Swell Season was one of the many contributors to the album. It was recorded and mixed by Tim Iseler, who has been at the helm of all three Judson Claiborne LPs.

Doors was released Summer 2013 by In Store Recordings and La Société Expéditionnaire and the band will be touring throughout 2013 & 14.

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