Fits the bill for a sobering Sunday

For 20 odd years, William Rahr Callahan lived as the artist Smog, an artistic identity who was constantly experimenting with the sub-quality approachof lo-fi rock. But then, against the wishes of his record label and to the displeasure of many of his fans, he put Smog to sleep and embraced the identity of Bill Callahan. Under this moniker the American-born Callahan changed pace and turned his sights towards folk music and the most traditional elements of rural, musical Americana. The musical experimentation is still there, with his free-flowing lyrics a solid reminder of his unorthodox roots, but the new direction is more polished, more constructed, and quite frankly just better.

Since the 2007 name change Callahan has released six albums, each to much critical acclaim, with the most recent one the excellent Dream River 2013. The record masterfully captures all the quintessential elements of contemporary folk music: dry humour, slow pace and a commentary on the self and society. Music publication picked it as number 16 on its list of top albums for 2013, with the single ‘Small Plane’ coming in at 15 on the best track list. It is always incredibly daft to call something an instant classic, but such is the quality of the album that it almost seems daft not to award that title to Dream River. It has all the gloom of Johnny Cash’s last albums, the rare troubadorish appeal of Bonnie Prince Billy and the lyrical finesse of an Edo Period haiku poet via Nick Cave. His lyrical ability is a particular high point on the record, with the song ‘Summer Painter’ a personal favourite.

Although this most recent album is quite excellent, if you are new to his music you would be well served to check out his older releases, such as Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle (2009) or the Apocalypse (2011). If you are even just slightly interested in the musicians I have managed to name-drop in this preview, you should do yourself a favour and go and get acquainted with Callahan already yesterday.

The concert on February 9 will be his third in Denmark, with his last two being held in 2011, when he held two sold out, back-to-back shows at Lille Vega. The cold February Sunday slot is a definite fit for Callahan’s music, with his intelligent approach to music and his lyrical baritone voice a great way to nurture you back to health following a physically punishing weekend. With ticket prices at just 280 kroner, there isn’t really any excuse for lovers of music to miss out on what is sure to be an unforgettable concert.

Bill Callahan
Store Vega, Enghavevej 40, Cph V;
Sun 20:00;
Tickets: 280kr,;,