CINCINNATI — Pull up a chair. I might gush.
My first experience with Damien Jurado's music came by accident. Some years ago, I was digging crates at a St. Francis DePaul thrift store (I won't tell you which one -- this particular outlet is my cheap vinyl honey hole). Amongst the usual vinyl bin detritus — Herb Alpert, Ferrante and Teicher and at least 30 copies of 'Fiddler on the Roof' — I spied an obviously newish Burnt Toast release with tracks on the A side and etched poetry and artwork on the B. Not having at that time heard Damien Jurado, or his 2001 limited-release EP Four Songs, I plunked down my two-bit bet and headed home.
The record was haunting. Jurado's subdued vocals, quietly orchestral arrangements and echoing percussion are a soundtrack for solitary evenings spent reading by oil lamp, or contemplating a jump.
Flash forward to 2012. Now signed to Secretly Canadian, where he has stood as labelmate with the late Jason Molina (Songs: Ohia / Magnolia Electric Co.) and Great Lake Swimmers — two other of my musical heroes — Jurado released his tenth album, Maraqopa, a perfect lullaby collection accentuated by reverb, transcendent vocals and pierced throughout with woodblock percussion. Acoutstically, Maraqopa is a David Lynch movie with a coherent plot, on a just-this-side-of-therapeutic regimen of anti-depressents. It's gorgeous.
Jurado will be featured on Moby's next album, Innocents, due out next month. He also this year re-released Where Shall You Take Me, his 2003 Secretly Canadian debut. The re-issue was dedicated to Jason Molina, who was instrumental in bring Jurado over to that label. A quick persual of his official website will give one a tantalizing hint about his next project: Jurado's as-yet-untitled 11th LP is due out next year.
I'll be in the front row when he plays MidPoint. If you tap me on the shoulder, I'll ignore you. He's that good.