What to Do Tonight: Damien Jurado

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Surrounded by legends
  • Surrounded by legends

Like all great folk musicians, Damien Jurado creates worlds for his songs to inhabit. The Seattle-based singer-songwriter had been quietly fashioning beautiful and somber dreamscapes long before delivering his 1997 debut album, Waters Ave S. Perhaps it’s the delicate and shy nature of Jurado’s universe — hard-to-reach visions where sparse guitars sparkle like lonely stars, slow drums echo over empty canyons, and Jurado’s hoarse vocals tell gloomy stories in Nick Drake’s earthy timbre. Over the course of ten full-length albums and a catalog of EPs, singles, and demos, Jurado has become a formidable underground balladeer, often mixing his lonesome basement folk with hip indie-rock (think Elliott Smith or M. Ward). His new album, Saint Bartlett, is certainly one of his most heartfelt. Recorded over one week, with low-fi pioneer Richard Swift producing, the album shrinks away from the up-tempo rock vibe of 2008’s Caught in the Trees and returns to Jurado’s hallmark: brooding folk panoramas. Songs like “Kansas City,” “The Falling Snow,” and “Cloudy Shoes” feature some of his most visceral landscapes — autumnal worlds where guitar and bard sit in solitary meditation of the beauty and pain of the human condition. Jurado plays the Beachland Ballroom, with Kay Kay & His Weathered Underground and Kate Tucker opening at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 advance, $12 day of show. —Keith Gribbins

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