Damien Jurado

And Now That I'm in Your Shadow

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Damien Jurado's seventh full-length -- and God knows how many singles, EPs and compilation cuts -- walks quietly in the shadow of 2005's On My Way to Absence. While the soft approach is his and his band's modus operandi, the subtle differences from recording to recording are, nonetheless, pronounced, Whereas On My Way to Absence was adorned with simple acoustic guitars and framed in everything from strings and piano, there were also some slow, light rock & roll tracks, where the band plugged in. Not so here on And Now That I'm in Your Shadow. Drums only appear on a couple of cuts, and electric guitars are almost entirely absent. Sound effects, big echo chambers, and reverb grace "Montesano," and one or two other tracks, but mostly, it's just Jurado with his acoustic guitar, a piano, and some strings. The feel is late night, on the edge of quiet, and full of pathos. Once upon a time he refrained from writing confessional material; his songs are drenched in it now, whether metaphorical or not. Jurado's storytelling skills, however, have become more sophisticated and multi-dimensional than they were before. Check "Denton, Texas," the title track, the solo acoustic "Shannon Rhodes," and "Gas Station." The slow country stroll of "There Goes Your Man," and the drum machine-driven acoustic cut "What Were the Chances," a duet with Jenna Conrad. Oh yeah, it's quiet, mopey and distinct: Jurado's way of writing distills the complicated notions of the heart into images or tiny actions: a breath, a glance, a hand moving from one place to the next on the human body, automobiles in the parking lots of truck stops. He is the king of miniature still lifes, and his voice doesn't lie. And Now That I'm In Your Shadow is sophisticated, honest, and full of gray light.

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