Sal Klita Blogger | Muzik impressions

Sal Klita Blogger

Friday, April 6

No More Smog For Me! "Woke on a Whale Heart" by Bill Callahan.

Bill Callahan
Woke on a Whale Heart
Drag City

MP3: > Bill Callahan: "Sycamore"

Is Bill better than my Dad?


Bill Callahan is a salty old romantic poet. Callahan is one of the few men still unspoiled by the ravages of our meaningless modern times. He's the type of man who could calculate declination by the stars, repair the structural foundation of a house, tirelessly help the needy and yet still find time to lay for hours in the tall grass pondering the immaculate beauty of soil. Your Dad likes Grey's Anatomy and Frisbee-golf.

Does Bill Callahan give better advice than my Dad?
Well let's see. What was that your Dad said that one time? Don't put all your eggs in one basket? The whiter the bread the sooner you're dead? Don't go chasing waterfalls? Yeah, your Dad speaks in cliches. He doesn't know any better because he gave up on his dreams (which is kind of your fault) and in the meantime appointed television as steward over his imagination. Bill Callahan, on the other hand, will gently offer you a pearl of wisdom that dispels all confusion. He says it unpretentiously too, as if he doesn't know it's so goddamn profound. Here's a taste from Woke On A Whale Heart.

"I could tell you about the river/ or/ We could just get in"
"Have faith in wordless knowledge"
"You won't get hurt if you just keep your hands up/ and stand tall/ Like sycamores"
"I follow the river/ When I'm lost/ When I'm lost"
"We do not know how things work"

So when you've knocked up your girlfriend, or the pistons aren't firing on your 1982 Chevette, or you feel you need to drop out of school and roam the planet aimlessly, or you think you might be gay, or you want to learn to use a mitre saw, or you're perplexed by the absurdity of love and nature just remember that your Dad can't talk for very long because his program's on.

Say something nice about my Dad.

That's not a question.

Is Woke On A Whale Heart sparse and gutting like A River Ain't Too Much To Love?

Heavens no, this one is a much more upbeat venture. The weight of the words still looms but the melodies are bouncy and cheerful. Incidentally, I think your Dad might really like it. This is pure Dad-rock.

Would you say this stays faithful to Smog fans?

Well, it's not as if the man pursues a career in poetry/music simply to please his fans. I'm sure there's some vested personal interest in there somewhere but since you insist--I'd say Smog fans will be pleased. It's sunny, pleasant, deceptively simple, and lyrically puzzling like all his best work. You might say Woke On A Whale Heart is a mature addition to an already singular and profound body of work.

Say guy, is this your favourite album thus far from 2007?

Why yes, it absolutely is. Thanks for asking.


album review by