Cross paths with Damien Jurado, say on a misty autumn afternoon more representative of his Pacific Northwest home than ours, and you will recognize a physical presence, a sturdiness not unlike a former high-school-lineman turned football coach. Which is not an endeavor usually known for sensitivity.
Jurado’s music, however, is a different story. For over a decade the songwriter has crafted acute tales populated by characters both far removed and often overlooked. His ninth full-length, the highly recommended Saint Bartlett, came out this week, but when we last met Jurado, he was touring in support of Caught in the Trees, a rare instance of this songwriter substituting himself as subject.
“I normally don’t write songs from my perspective,” he told us. “Caught in the Trees was actually the first time I’ve ever written a record from my perspective: 99% of the songs are about my experience of going through the divorce.”
“Go First,” for example, encompasses a collateral casualty: time with Jurado’s just teenaged son. It is four-plus-minutes at once open, insistent, and damn near heart-breaking. (Do not underestimate the value of Jenna Conrad’s harmonies here).
And by the time our afternoon with Jurado is over, more than just the Brooklyn sky is misting.