Dream River by Bill Callahan on Apple Music

8 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Dream River is Bill Callahan’s 16th (or so) release, including those he recorded as Smog. His music is mysterious and intense. Even after 25 years, it remains filled with surprises. Where in the past Callahan has thrived on repetition, here nothing is static. Dream River is sublime in its subtlety; each word and pause feels essential. The instruments are in sync with Callahan’s drowsy and understated baritone, and the arrangements fully support the freeform lyrics and open song structures. The music is lush and the backing band inspired, particularly the remarkable guitar work of Matt Kinsey. His guitar tones play off Callahan’s vocals beautifully as keyboards, flute, congas, and percussion add texture and motion on standouts like “Javelin Unlanding” and “Spring.” Another highlight is the opening “The Sing,” a Callahan classic featuring pedal steel, electric guitar, country fiddle, and a hint of mariachi rhythm. Dream River is an affecting album that ranks among Callahan’s best work.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Dream River is Bill Callahan’s 16th (or so) release, including those he recorded as Smog. His music is mysterious and intense. Even after 25 years, it remains filled with surprises. Where in the past Callahan has thrived on repetition, here nothing is static. Dream River is sublime in its subtlety; each word and pause feels essential. The instruments are in sync with Callahan’s drowsy and understated baritone, and the arrangements fully support the freeform lyrics and open song structures. The music is lush and the backing band inspired, particularly the remarkable guitar work of Matt Kinsey. His guitar tones play off Callahan’s vocals beautifully as keyboards, flute, congas, and percussion add texture and motion on standouts like “Javelin Unlanding” and “Spring.” Another highlight is the opening “The Sing,” a Callahan classic featuring pedal steel, electric guitar, country fiddle, and a hint of mariachi rhythm. Dream River is an affecting album that ranks among Callahan’s best work.

TITLE TIME
4:31
3:48
3:56
5:10
5:03
6:30
5:39
5:29

About Bill Callahan

After almost 20 years of using the alias Smog for his music, Bill Callahan switched to his given name for his releases after 2005's A River Ain't Too Much to Love. The 2007 EP Diamond Dancer and full-length Woke on a Whaleheart both mixed the intimate, reflective, largely acoustic sound of later Smog albums like Supper and A River with gospel, soul, and pop elements, and boasted arrangements by former Royal Trux mastermind Neil Hagerty. For 2009's Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle, Callahan returned to the more intimate acoustic-based sound of latter-era Smog albums, featuring string and brass arrangements by Brian Beattie. The live album Rough Travel for a Rare Thing arrived in March 2010, and in July Callahan issued his 79-page "epistolary novelette" Letters to Emma Bowlcut, comprised of 62 letters from a nameless protagonist to a woman he saw at a party. Callahan kicked off 2011 with Apocalypse, a more uptempo collection of seven country- and blues-inspired rock tunes that recalled some of his edgier work with Smog. A softer offering, Dream River, was issued in the fall of 2013. The next year Have Fun with God surfaced, remixing the eight tracks of Dream River in more haunted and electronic styles. ~ Heather Phares

  • ORIGIN
    Silver Spring, MD
  • BORN
    1966

Top Songs by Bill Callahan

Top Albums by Bill Callahan

Listeners Also Played