Release Date: Sep 9, 2008
Record label: Secretly Canadian
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
"I have never been more excited about playing music in my life than I am right now," writes Damien Jurado on his blog, and it's no wonder. The Seattle singer/songwriter has penned one of his most infectious and introspective albums yet. Like his past efforts, Caught In The Trees is a collection of contagious folk-rock tunes, but, according to Jurado, this is the first time he's turned his lyrics inward, focusing on the breakup of his 13-year marriage.
Some years back, not long after his Grammy Award nominations, rumour went round that Ryan Adams had made his "commercial suicide" record, which turned out to be Love Is Hell, pts. I & II. That was the point I first pricked up my ears, and wasn’t one bit disappointed with the results. Damien Jurado isn’t in a position to make a "commercial suicide" record, but this is his Love Is Hell, pt.
On latest depressed opus, songwriter figures out where he is by examining where he’s beenI always balk when people write off Damien Jurado as the poor man’s Richard Buckner. It’s true that both singers stalk a profound intuition of loss through twisty catacombs of folk, pop rock, country and field-recorded ambience, and that both have rich voices of honey and grit. But Jurado has his own identity.
When Damien Jurado flashed his new wedding ring during a show in Chicago this past fall, a chorus of "awwww"s seeped from the crowd predictably. One has to wonder, however, if there weren't a few seasoned fans in that audience whose "awwww"s were underscored by "uh-oh"s. The songwriter settling down here is, after all, one of the better chroniclers of heartbreak, betrayal, and the other side of love working at the moment.
Whenever I make an important compilation CD for a friend, or someone I'm trying to impress and show that I'm deep and sensitive and have a depressive nature, I always put on Damien Jurado's Ohio, from 1999's Rehearsals for Departure. Damien Jurado is one of those singer songwriters who make it all look and sound very easy, acoustically plucking nostalgic tales of desolate, abandoned cities, inciting feelings of desperation and angst. Lyrically beautiful, I'd defy anyone not to cry when hearing it.
Sufjan Stevens was once enrolled in an MFA program in creative writing and named a song after a Flannery O’Connor story, but I’ve always thought of Damien Jurado as the truer, better storyteller. Problem is that on full-length number nine, Caught in the Trees, Jurado seems to be running out of tales to tell. There are only so many songs one can sing about extramarital affairs, mental instability, and jealous, murderous love.
Over the course of eight full-lengths, singer-songwriter Damien Jurado has gained a reputation as a bard of unglamorous troubles – custody disputes and car accidents, lingering cancers and affairs in highway motels. A folk-singing adherent to the minimalism/Kmart-realism movement in literature, the Seattle-based singer’s been celebrated more for his tendency to write in a true third-person than for his gentle tenor and keen melodic ear. His twin roadmaps, in this assessment, are Nebraska and What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.