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20 new Bill Callahan songs coming in June

Bill Callahan at Baby's All Right
Bill Callahan at Baby’s All Right, 2016 (more by PSqaured)

Bill Callahan will release Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest, his first album in six years, on June 14 via Drag City. (Preorder yours.) The record features 20 songs, most of which clock in at less than three minutes and, while it does feature contributions from guitarist Matt Kinsey and bassist Brian Beattie, this album had Callahan doing most of the overdubbing himself. Here’s more from Drag City’s press release:

After Dream River, Bill’s life went through some changes. Good changes – marriage and a kid – but afterwards, it was suddenly harder for him to find the place where the songs came, to make him and these new experiences over again into something to sing. His songs have always been elusive, landing lightly between character study and autobiography, as the singer-songwriter often does. This felt different, though. After 20 years of putting music first, he wasn’t prepared to go away from it completely. Or was he? The lives of a newlywed, a new parent, they have so much in them – but writing and singing, it was his old friend that had helped him along to this place where he’d so happily arrived. Was there room for everybody? While sorting it all out, he worked on songs every day – which meant that for a while, there were lots of days simply confronting the void, as he measured this new life against the ones he’d previously known.

It informed the shape of the album. Moving gradually from reflections upon the old days in “Ballad of The Hulk” and “Young Icarus” to the immediacy of the present moment in “Watching Me Get Married” and “Son of the Sea”, Bill traces the different life lines, casually unwinding knotty contradictions and ambiguities with an arresting stillness. The sense of a life thunderstruck by change infuses Shepherd In a Sheepskin Vest– the songs wander from expressions of newfound joy and great contentment to other snapshots, considerations of the not-joy that we all know. Unsettling dream-images and mythic recollections are patiently received; the undertow of the past is resisted, pulling against it instead into the present, accepting revolutions of time and the unconscious as a natural flow.

While Bill hasn’t shared a song from the album yet, you can watch a video of the vinyl album being pressed, along with album art and tracklist and a stream of Dream River, below.

These days Bill can be found raising a son with his wife at his home in Texas, where he hopes to spend even more time than he does, as he told Pitchfork in a great new interview:

We stop by a pond where three turtles are lined up statuesque on a log, and Callahan talks about wanting to spend more time around the house, tending his own garden. “I’d like to have a backyard full of watermelons,” he says.

Those watermelons may need to wait though, as Bill will soon be heading out on a lengthy tour in support of this new album. He has West Coast dates in June, and Midwest and East Coast dates in July, including NYC-area shows at Brooklyn’s Murmrr Theater on 7/11 (sold-out) and Jersey City’s White Eagle Hall on 7/12 (tickets). Updated dates are listed below.

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Bill Callahan – Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest tracklist:
Shepherd’s Welcome 2:22
Black Dog on the Beach 2:30
Angela 2:47
The Ballad of The Hulk 4:04
Writing 3:06
Morning is My Godmother 2:10
747 3:26
Watch Me Get Married 3:10
Young Icarus 2:48
Released 2:22
What Comes After Certainty 3:42
Confederate Jasmine 3:40
Call Me Anything 2:26
Son of the Sea 4:13
Camels 2:59
Circles 2:28
When We Let Go 2:17
Lonesome Valley 4:16
Tugboats and Tumbleweeds 4:12
The Beast 4:37

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Bill Callahan – 2019 Tour Dates
6/13/19 Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace Pioneertown CA
6/14/19– 6/15/19 The Lodge Room Los Angeles CA 2 Nights

6/17/19 Henry Miller Library Big Sur CA
6/18/19 The Castro Theeatre San Francisco CA
6/19/19 Gundlach-Bundschu Winery Sonoma CA
6/21/19 Wonder Ballroom Portland OR
6/21/19 Wonder Ballroom Portland OR
Early show added!

6/22/19 Neptune Theatre Seattle WA
7/5/19 Lawrence Public Library Lawrence KS
7/6/19 Cedar Cultural Center Minneapolis MN
7/7/19 Thalia Hall Chicago IL
7/8/19 Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit Detroit MI
7/10/19 The Sinclair Cambridge MA
7/11/19 Murmrr Theatre Brooklyn NY
7/12/19 White Eagle Hall Jersey City NJ
7/13/19 World Cafe Live Philadelphia PA
7/14/19 Miracle Theatre Washington DC
7/15/19 Miracle Theatre Washington DC
Second Show added!

7/16/19 Cat’s Cradle Carrboro NC
7/17/19 Terminal West Atlanta GA
7/18/19 Proud Larry’s Oxford MS
9/29/19 Vicar Street Dublin Ireland
10/1/19 Usher Hall Edinburgh United Kingdom
10/2/19 Albert Hall Manchester United Kingdom
10/3/19 Eventim Apollo London United Kingdom
10/5/19 La Cigale Paris France
10/6/19 AB Ancienne Belgique Brussels Belgium
10/7/19 Tivoli Vredenburg Utrecht Netherlands
10/8/19 Admiralpalast Berlin Germany
10/10/19 Store Vega Copenhagen Denmark
10/11/19 Rockefeller Music Hall Oslo Norway
10/12/19 Gota Lejon Stockholm Sweden
10/13/19 Pustervik Gothenburg Sweden

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