Monday, November 3, 2014
Damien Jurado Brings It Home
About a year ago a friend of mine gave me some VIP tickets to see Moby at the Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles. While I was standing outside checking in I saw Damien Jurado walk out to talk to the will call table. I was surprised to see him in LA. Hollywood Blvd doesn't seem a likely place for a Damien Jurado spotting. I've seen him perform several times in person. In fact I saw him just this past month at the Bootleg Theater. The time before that was in Seattle. I was living in the White Center neighborhood and he played up the street at Full Tilt Ice Cream with his brother Drake as Hoquiam:
I hadn't read much about Moby's latest album so I didn't realize that he had pulled in folks like Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees), Wayne Coyne (Flaming Lips), and Damien to collaborate on several of the songs. Upon seeing him, my curiosity and anticipation for the show grew immensely. But I was also a little stumped.
How the hell would Moby work guys like Mark Lanegan and Damien Jurado into his set?
I knew Damien was capable of painfully haunting songs and ethereal duets. When Sub Pop released Badlands - A Tribute To Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska in 2000, their head honcho JP had given me a copy and I listened to the Damien Jurado and Rosie Thomas cover of Wages of Sin constantly while I was on a year long retreat deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. It was a perfect soundtrack.
When Moby brought Damien out I was literally sitting on the edge of my seat, and yet I was still completely baffled as to what was about to happen.
Whatever it was going to be, they had my full attention.
As soon as Damien sung his first note "IS THIS THE SAME DAMIEN JURADO????" was the only thing running through my mind. If you heard an extra beat, it was my jaw hitting the balcony floor.
I'd never heard him sing quite like it. He's soulful, but this was from another realm. The whole song is one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard. He is bringing a heightened depth (oxymoron anyone?) and energy that I can only compare to the God/Goddess that is Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons. And that is about the highest musical compliment that I can give to anyone.
This song has been on my mind a lot lately. I had surgery recently and spent a few weeks in bed, high on pain medications and for those 3 weeks Almost Home by Moby/Damien Jurado was the only song I could listen to. I am sober so I'm not suggesting that you need to take narcotics to appreciate it. It is a standalone brilliant work of art. However, I will put it this way, it's a great companion piece to something like the Strangler's Golden Brown.
I know it's been out a year now and you may even already own the album Innocents that it was released on, but in case not, give your ears over to this gem for the next 6 minutes: