Seemingly everyone’s favorite song from Damien Jurado’s Maraqopa, every time I listen to “Working Titles” it gets me. Jurado’s recording and Richard Swift’s falsetto are so well matched and also so outside of the norm. That this song might have nearly the same effect when sung by others though? Unexpected as it may be, John Heart Jackie’s version got me this morning. These two understand just how much those spine-tingling harmonies matter, and are obviously just as much in love with this song as we are.
Damien Jurado with Friends ::: photo by Josh Lovseth
I know I said I wouldn’t be writing about Damien Jurado here now that I’m part of his management team, so I’m not going to review last night’s sold out record release, but I would be remiss not to share this video I shot side-stage of my favorite song from Maraqopa.
Leave me Manhattan, I want the Evergreens …
Joined by friends and younger musicians he has inspired from The Head and The Heart, Pickwick, Deep Sea Diver and Bryan John Appleby, Damien sang this love song to his home state to thunderous applause and hoots and hollers. As he began his set, the seasoned troubadour told the crowd “this is the greatest Seattle show of my career.” But with spine-tingling moments like “Working Titles,” the night felt more like a beginning than a culmination.
Closer to 20 years of making music than 10 years, Damien Jurado’s guitar tone is a signature one. But the first few seconds of that recognizable strum is about the only familiar element to the first single and opening track to his 10th LP Maraqopa, his second collaboration with producer Richard Swift. The song brings into focus the increasingly idiosyncratic creativity of a songwriter who’s found his stride with an accomplice wielding the chops to faithfully develop and commit that vision to record.
Following the release of our #1 NW Record of 2010, the Swift-produced Saint Bartlett, and with the help of Vetiver guitarist Daniel Hindman to lay down the “Santana” on “Nothing is the News,” the notion of Jurado as a lonely singer-songwriter is steadily being replaced by that of Jurado as a sonic alchemist, extracting beauty from a bubbling cauldron of only-he-knows-what. In this place conceived in a dream called Maraqopa, Jurado is compounding our conceptions of “psych,” and returning the word’s use to describing that cognitive state where your imagination can determine your reality. Located on side A at track one, “Nothing is the News” probably isn’t what anyone expected out of Jurado and Maraqopa. And that is most definitely the point.
Maraqopa, arrives February 21st on Secretly Canadian.
Seattle will get a sneak peek at the record on February 17th when he celebrates its release at The Neptune Theater with Gold Leaves, Bryan John Appleby and perhaps a few other special guests. Tickets have just gone on sale.