Shipping Cart (0) Items $0.00
Welcome, Sign In

Damien Jurado "Ghost of David"

Product Image
Damien Jurado "Ghost of David"
Damien Jurado "Ghost of David"
The first eight words Seattle folkie Damien Jurado sings on his third LP proper, Ghost of David, masterfully sum up the record in both tone and subject: "It just so happens I have many concerns," Jurado delivers, taking the listener by the hand and calmly curating an album-long tour of woe. Jurado's grip is as matter-of-fact as his lyric, as subtlety is, perhaps paradoxically, his most outstanding trait. Jurado isn't here to batter listeners with social commentary or to weave heavy-handed themes into his arsenal of character-driven story-songs. Thank god.
With Ghost of David, Jurado more than makes up for his last effort: the silly, if not pointless, Postcards and Audio Letters. Ancient tape-recorded conversations acquired from thrift store bins were assembled onto a CD and packaged as Jurado's own to form one of the most bloated "concept" pieces 2000 saw. Bereft of music, the album seemed a cop-out, and an unworthy follow-up to Jurado's previous studio gem, 1999's Rehearsals for Departure.
Regardless, Jurado is in top-form on Ghost of David, bettering his previous sound. Gone is the folk-pop hybrid that often had the effect of mixing brownish canned peas with lumpy mashed potatoes. Instead, for the first half of the record, Jurado cooks up toothsome, bare-boned, mostly solo-acoustic folk.
Too important to be considered a mere side dish are Jurado's eloquent and accomplished lyrics. Often, he takes the traditional route of folksinger-as-storyteller to great success. The album's opener, the bleak "Medication," tells the story of a man who must divide his attention and affection between his married lover and his mentally ill brother. On "Tonight I Will Retire," he assumes the role of a man about to commit suicide as he sings over a whisked beat and eerie piano. Jurado laments, "If I should taste fire/ Save me not, I deserve to die," tenderly straining his voice. It's doubtful that Jurado, the fine Christian chap that he is, has been in either of these situations personally, but his empathetic delivery and avoidance of sappiness propel the tracks to a sincerity that even the most confessional, soul-bearing songwriters often fail to deliver.
Jurado dives into more experimental territory during the second half of the album-- an interesting move after playing it so straight. I can't knock him for his initiative, and his shunning of sing-along pop is dually commendable. However, the second half of the album is largely hit-or-miss. "Parking Lot" is lulling and pretty but sports Sarah McLachlan-esque lead vocals by Rose Thomas. Why Jurado chose not to grace the song with his own molasses-coated pipes is a mystery, as it could have been the record's best track. "Paxil" is a grinding, garage-rocker that only reinforces Jurado's strength with folk-based material. Still, the organ flourishes on "Rearview" and "December" add an ethereal quality that surprisingly complements the folk components of the tunes.
Unfortunately, the last half of Ghost of David, while sometimes as stunning as the first, gives the album a slightly inconsistent feel. And though this record proves that Jurado has yet to release a masterpiece, Jurado is aware of his flaws. In "Great Today," he sings, "I could be so much better." I don't know about the "so much" part, but with that attitude, a perfect album can't be too far away.
Add to Cart
Price $20.00
Add to Cart
Subtotal: $0.00
Shopping Summary

There are currently
no items in your cart.

Shop Now


Buy 12 bottles and receive a 10% case discount.

Loading... Modal Background

Please wait while we process your order...