Damien Jurado is one of my favorite singer-songwriters of the last ten years and has been ever since I stumbled upon On My Way To Absence when it first came out a few years ago. Despite being a big fan of his I've actually only seen him perform once at the Knitting Factory around the same time that I first discovered his music. Damien's been back to Los Angeles several times since but something would always seem to get in my way and I would miss the show. I finally caught up with him again last night at Spaceland.
After playing live with a full band the past few years, Damien is keeping it simple this time around. It's just him, his chair and his acoustic guitar. Seeing him with a full band previously, it was nice to hear the songs a little differently this time. Band or no band he still belts out his lyrics with enough commitment that he communicates the emotion that's ever-present in each line.
I forgot how damn funny he is too. In between songs he joked about how he's really not as depressed as his songs make him sound and that he mainly writes in the third person. At one point he pulled out a magazine that had a BMI ad that listed out several independent artists, himself included. The only problem was they put someone else's picture over his name. He played for a little over an hour and there wasn't one nonessential song in the entire set.
Damien's the type of artist that has seemingly flown under the buzz radar his entire career. I have several friends who, based on their taste in music, should by all rights be big fans of his but when his name comes up they always say something to the effect of "Oh yeah...I've heard of him." Damien seems more than ok with that though. He knows that his songs reach the people they reach and those people appreciate the heartfelt music he creates and in the end that's all that really matters.
Here's a couple songs from his latest release Caught In The Trees:
"Gillian Was A Horse"
Dig into Damien's back catalog over at his current label Secretly Canadian and his previous one, Sub Pop.