Bill Callahan gives us another gem with ‘Dream River’
“The only words I said today are beer and thank you. Beer. Thank you. Beer. Thank you,” Bill Callahan sings on his opening track, The Sing, from his just-released album Dream River. His lyrics can be sparse and his recording style remains simple but there’s something just intoxicating enough about Callahan’s music that brings me back. Callahan had an unenviable task of following up the superb 2011 release Apocalypse, but Dream River doesn’t disappoint. You certainly have to like this style of music (at least a little) but even if it’s not exactly your thing, Callahan has a seductive, disarming style that slowly draws you in. Comparisons are tough. Bonnie Prince Billy? Silver Jews? Leonard Cohen? You could lump him in with a wide swath of singer songwriters, but, as the best of the bunch usually prove, each artist is uniquely original. Callahan’s sound is fresh and interesting.
I love the musical style, too. It’s a mix of lounge, world, pop, folk, indie, and, I’m sure, a few more genres I’m forgetting. The music often serve as a background for Callahan’s poetic observations delivered in his deep, impassive voice. Dream River is an intriguing album and definitely recommended.