From the River to the Ocean

After 15 years of releasing music professionally under the name Smog, Bill Callahan put out an album using his own name: 2007’s Woke on a Whaleheart. The shift in names was an intentional act by Callahan as he told Pitchfork in 2007: “I have narrowed my focus with the name change. There is no nameContinue reading “From the River to the Ocean”

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”