Let Me See the Colts

In 2003, Bill Callahan, still releasing music under the band name Smog, put out the album Supper. The fifth track, placed at the heart of the album, is a song titled “Vessel in Vain”: The song opens with the sounds of twin twinkling from the guitar and keyboard as Callahan sings the opening lines: “IContinue reading “Let Me See the Colts”

The Well

In his 1981 essay “On Writing,” the great short story writer Raymond Carver wrote the following: “It’s possible, in a poem or a short story, to write about commonplace things and objects using commonplace but precise language, and to endow those things—a chair, a window curtain, a fork, a stone, a woman’s earring—with immense, evenContinue reading “The Well”

Say Valley Maker

The time before the release of 2005’s A River Ain’t Too Much to Love was a period of transition for Bill Callahan. Looking back on that time, he recalled the following to Stephen Hyden: “I moved out of Chicago to Austin, Texas because I was trying to make some big changes in my life. IContinue reading “Say Valley Maker”

Feather by Feather

From the beginning of Bill Callahan’s career when he recorded under the name Smog until the present releasing music with his given name, Callahan has been signed to the record label Drag City. In the early 2000s, while still using the Smog moniker, Callahan was one of three white male recording artists signed to DragContinue reading “Feather by Feather”

Teenage Spaceship

In the year 1999, the singer, songwriter, and guitar player Bill Callahan had released six full-length albums and a number of cassettes and EPs under the name Smog. Smog was not an actual band, but rather Callahan with an as-needed rotating cast of musicians. Smog’s earliest releases were abrasive and jarring, mixing noise experiments withContinue reading “Teenage Spaceship”

Recitations on Waitresses & Art Within Terry Allen’s “The Beautiful Waitress” and Bob Dylan’s “Highlands”

In a 2011 interview to accompany a catalog on his latest group of paintings, Bob Dylan was asked by curator and art critic John Elderfield if he kept up with contemporary art. He replied: “I don’t follow it that much. Owen Smith, Terry Allen, I like their work. I think miniature golf courses are greatContinue reading “Recitations on Waitresses & Art Within Terry Allen’s “The Beautiful Waitress” and Bob Dylan’s “Highlands””

(What’s So Funny About) Peace, Love, and Understanding

In Letters to a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke advises the following: “Irony: Do not let yourself be governed by it, especially not in uncreative moments. In creative moments try to make use of it as one more means of grasping life. Cleanly used, it too is clean, and one need not be ashamed ofContinue reading “(What’s So Funny About) Peace, Love, and Understanding”

Stations of the Cross

Every year on Wednesdays and Fridays during Lent, many observers in the Western Christian faith engage in a practice called the Stations of the Cross, a 14-step devotion observing Jesus’s last days as part of the Passion of Christ. The Stations of the Cross: “are commonly used as a mini pilgrimage as the individual movesContinue reading “Stations of the Cross”

Country Darkness

It all starts with sweet tea, Sweet Tea Recording Studio in Oxford, Mississippi, to be more precise. In 2004, Elvis Costello once again teamed up with his backing band The Imposters and recorded the album The Delivery Man at Sweet Tea. Armed with a batch of new songs, Costello was yearning to make another rockContinue reading “Country Darkness”

The Delivery Man

Once upon a time, in a log cabin in the American South, there lived a woman who was charmed by three figures: Jesus Christ, Elvis Presley, and Santa Claus. Each offered a different variation of mythological masculinity. This woman’s devotion to Jesus, Elvis, and Santa Claus was exhibited by all manners of collectibles which wereContinue reading “The Delivery Man”