My 50 Favorite Albums of 2008: #18

Number 18

There’s only the most subtle of differences with each passing Damien Jurado album (minus the heavy electric avenue he went for a minute with the I Break Chairs record) but the somber, harrowing tales remain at the core of his songwriting. He’s been frequently labeled as the Raymond Carver of music, and there’s good reason for it, found all over his songs. The protagonists in the music that pours out of him are rustic lost souls, trudging through life and looking for any kind of sign to make existence a little easier to handle or understand. With his newest record, Caught in the Trees, the consistently terrific Seattle native has made an intriguing change in the choice to co-write each and every track with Jenna Conrad; save for “Best Dress”, which she takes sole credit for. Another key difference that will be noticed from the very beginning is a more musically upbeat Jurado, at least with the opening wallop of “Gillian Was A Horse”, declaring itself the closest thing to radio-friendly the artist has ever created. Lyrically, the album is full of the vintage landscapes we’re accustomed to, but what’s refreshing about the entire experience is the frequent sharing of vocals with the wonderful Conrad, who molds with Jurado’s deeply-pitched sounds beautifully. Boasting some of the best male/female harmonizing heard all year, especially on numbers like “Last Rights” and the aforementioned “Gillian Was A Horse”, this is another brilliant addition into the discography of one of the world’s most overlooked songwriters. On what had to be one of the very best trio of consectuive songs on a record in all of 2008, “Dimes”, “Everything Trying”, and “Sheets” make for an unbelievably powerful combination. It’s over a decade into his career and I still find myself wondering when he’ll ever get his due. Maybe someday soon. Caught in the Trees is another case-maker.

1.Gillian Was A Horse
2.Trials
3.Caskets
4.Coats of Ice
5.Go First
6.Sorry Is For You
7.Last Rights
8.Dimes
9.Everything Trying
10.Sheets
11.Paper Kite
12.Best Dress
13.Predictive Living

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2 Responses to “My 50 Favorite Albums of 2008: #18”

  1. Bob Bland Says:

    This is actually how I stumbled onto your blog. I was posting this as my #4 entry this morning, and you came up under “Possibly related posts.” Lots of great lists, man…nice job!

  2. Ferguson Says:

    Thanks a lot for all of the comments! Keeps me encouraged to post more knowing that at least someone comes here to read my opinions.

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