Bill Callahan

Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle (Drag City)

Texas Platters

Bill Callahan

Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle (Drag City)

Horses, trees, and birds surround Bill Callahan on his 14th LP. The adopted Texan's gone on a vision quest, and on opener "Jim Cain," he sums it up: "I used to be darker, then I got lighter, then I got dark again." 2007's stellar Woke on a Whaleheart found him miles from Smog's lo-fi folk prophesies, the music revived, almost jubilant. Eagle's halfway there but sounds preoccupied, his stoic baritone never giving too much away. Since dropping the Smog front, Callahan's discovered a more nuanced way of writing songs. Two-thirds of locals Horse + Donkey back him, as do Shearwater's Jonathan Meiburg and Thor Harris on a few tracks, Callahan engaging in a mellow trot through Brian Beattie's strings. The songs are even and graceful, in no big hurry as they ponder love, loss, and the dreams brought on by both. Middle Eastern instrumentation on "The Wind and the Dove" and experimental synth interlude "Invocation of Ratiocination" are a nice change of pace, but the repetitive imagery and the fact that Callahan's voice is the main attraction make Eagle feel like affirmative chant. Closer "Faith/Void" assures over and over it's "time to put God away," and while Callahan doesn't let us any further into his spiritual mind, it hasn't gone completely dark again.

***

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Bill Callahan
Bill Callahan Finds an Elder Perspective on New Album
Bill Callahan Finds an Elder Perspective on New Album
Paternal dynamics paint the Austin virtuoso's new Gold Record

Rachel Rascoe, Sept. 18, 2020

Bill Callahan Album Review
Bill Callahan Album Review
Gold Record (Drag City)

Kevin Curtin, Sept. 18, 2020

More Music Reviews
Faster Than Sound: Virtual ACL Music Fest Keeps Flags Flying
Virtual ACL Music Fest Keeps Flags Flying
Nostalgic livestream and rising Austin talent fundraise for the Austin Parks Foundation.

Rachel Rascoe, Oct. 16, 2020

Austin Music Awards Went Off Without a Hitch in a Show of Communal Strength and Support
Austin Music Awards Went Off Without a Hitch in a Show of Communal Strength and Support
The night everything cancelled in the capitol

Doug Freeman, March 20, 2020

More by Audra Schroeder
SXSW Interactive Conference Quick Cuts
The Signal & the Noise
Statistician Nate Silver on more data, more problems

March 15, 2013

SXSW Film
SXSW Film Reviews: 'Kiss of the Damned'
Daily Reviews and Interviews

March 15, 2013

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Bill Callahan

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle