Prolific singer/songwriter Damien Jurado has been quietly building up one of the strongest catalogs on the indie scene for decades, following his own muse wherever it took him, whether fans and critics enjoyed it or not. His independence was born at least in part from the influence of punk, and one of the results was a concern for emotional authenticity that led him to delve into other people's lives instead of his own.
Many of Jurado's best songs spun concise, literate tales of quiet, everyday despair, but his storytelling bent -- not to mention his ambivalence toward confessional material -- arose from a strong grounding in traditional folk and spirituality. With detours into pop, world music, full-fledged electric indie rock, and even found-sound experiments, Jurado assures us that his body of work will continue to be impossible to accurately pin down.
LEE RANALDO & THE DUST
MILES COOPER SEATON