Bill Callahan who originally recorded as Smog, as with many of these ‘Unfamous‘ things will be familiar to some, but hopefully just off the beaten track for some others.
Some facts about Bill Callahan:
- Recurring themes in his work include horses, bodies of water, and teenagers.
- He’s a huge fan of Jandek, who influenced a lot of his earlier dissonant recordings.
- He’s dated Joanna Newsom, Chan Marshall (aka Cat Power), Lisa Carver (rollerderby writer / wild child) and musician Cynthia Dall
He’s been described as the post-punk Leonard Cohen, and is often considered alongside the likes of Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy as one of the finest English-language song writers of the last 20 years.
To reflect his lyricism, I’ve picked one of his more famous songs which is actually about the songwriting process. Dreaming of having written the perfect song, then waking to find it’s gibberish, Eid Ma Clack Shaw:
Another must listen track is from an earlier album recorded as Smog, where he strikes a more reflective note. Lyrics of particular genius in this one include,
When they make the movie of your life
they’re going to have to ask you
to do your own stunts
because nobody, nobody, nobody, nobody
could pull off the same shit as you
and still come out alright
Feather By Feather is from the Smog album Supper: