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Bill Callahan

Friday, 7:30pm, Yellow stage

By Doug Freeman, Fri., Nov. 8, 2013

Bill Callahan

Traveling in support of 2011's Apocalypse, the typically reticent and private Bill Callahan allowed videographer Hanly Banks to create a tour film after she reached out with a brief proposal. The result, last year's Apocalypse: A Bill Callahan Tour Film, provided a poignant portrait of the former Smog auteur, both for audiences and Callahan himself.

"I had very little to do with making it, I was just a subject," admits the local indie icon. "The few times I've seen it on the actual movie screen, the way it's lit and everything, it actually feels like another person is up there doing that. In your conscious life you don't really see yourself as other people see you, so you don't really know what your body looks like, or the back of your head. I seemed pretty serious and I didn't detect in myself any awareness of the outside, anything but the music.

"I feel like when I'm playing there's this magnetic force field that I'm creating, but I'm also being affected by it, and I think it looked like that to me when I watched myself."

That sense of remove, of observing oneself from the outside, infiltrates Callahan's latest effort, Dream River. The album moves in a contemplative calm, yet also reaches constantly for connection, for love in its sparse essential lyricism. This too, may be an influence of Banks, who recently became Callahan's fiancée.

"A record is really just the desire to sound a certain way," Callahan offers. "Where that desire comes from, I don't know. I kind of search the desires of the record shelf in my head and try to pick something you want to hear."

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