I guess all lives can be said to unfold in parallel to the evolution of a few great songwriters. One of those, for mine, has been Bill Callahan. I’m getting to know his new album — Gold Record — and I really appreciated this backhanded insult from Mike Powell’s review.
If anything, Callahan often seems like he’s following his songs instead of leading them, carefully and open to all paths, the way a birder follows the call from wherever it comes. (He is a meditator, no surprise.) Even ”Ry Cooder,” a tribute to the roots-rock musician and possibly the dumbest song Callahan has written in 27 years is alive with punchlines, zig-zags, and little surprises a stricter sort of attention would miss.