Damien Jurado: In The Shape of a Storm

review jurado x1 cong

“There’s nothing left to hide” Jurado sings (sings? more like mutters or whispers) during Lincoln, the opener of this new album, and it could be a comment on this stripped down offering.

All that’s here is the guitar, Jurado’s voice and the songs. It was recorded in two hours one afternoon; preceded, one assumes, by some hours of rehearsal. Apparently fans have always wanted an acoustic album, but Jurado never felt like doing one, until he did.

Fans will presumably love it but for the rest of us, it’s pretty good, the stripped down troubadour sound softened by Jurado’s voice and the guitar, tuned higher — Nashville-style, say the Press notes.

Comparisons with Cohen or Dylan are probably inevitable, although it’s both less sombre and more melodic.

The lyrics tell interesting tales. Newspaper Gown has the narrator telling a partner that she should wear whatever she wants, even a newspaper gown. “You can get dressed up and I’ll show you off,” the narrator says, “Our friends think we’re lovers or so I have heard .. So we let them keep guessing ‘til they figure us out”. The punchline is that they could get married, proclaimed via “Announcements made from your newspaper gown”.

Media is also used in Hands On The Table, where the narrator compares a relationship to being in someone’s book or film, “I was crippled and blurry the day I walked into your frame … And my pages were fading from the days of exchanging my tune.”

The title track is about people being bound together by fate, “If I go sailing into the unknown / What are my chances of ever reaching your shore?” the narrator asks, “Strange as it seems I once stood at your door / Yet I knew not what your name was”.

Gentle but never humdrum, this is a nice little album, and a career diversion for Jurado.

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About jerobear

Weekly newspaper editor in Cheshire, England. I blog my editorials and the CDs I write about. I play drums, drink coffee, play music, meditate. I hate filling in forms.

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