Damien Jurado probably writes the most depressing music of our day. In “Sheets”, he sings “Swallow him whole like a pill / that makes you choke and stills your soul.” It’s enough to make anyone’s heart heavy. Last Tuesday night, Damien Jurado graced Kings Barcade with his deep melancholy in a quiet, calm show.
In each ballad, there were bouts of soft rings, so quiet, you can hear a pin drop. For some songs, Jurado closed his eyes entirely and grimaced, as if imagining some past breakup occurring over and over in his mind. Mostly, he played songs of his latest record, Maraqopa, but the Seattle songwriter mixed his folk-rock with hints of synth.
Even though I pictured him with a stoic demeanor based off of his musical stylings alone, Damien was actually really engaging with the crowd. During “Ohio,” he came into the audience to feel the audience’s pain, as a preacher heals his congregation. Towards the end, when normal go-seers will start to hoot and holler with requests, Jurado bluntly said, “I’m not a jukebox”. He promised to visit us again for Hopscotch, with even more material! Adorning his acoustic was a badge of Washington State and the letters “HOME” stenciled in. Very West Coast.
It’s a good mix of slow, southern tunes with Jurado’s signature soul-infused voice. Just at the end of his set, he closed with my favorite, “Everything Trying” off of Caught in the Trees. “And I will sail back to you,” he professes. “How, Damien Jurado?” I whisper silently. A pause and then, “I’ll be sailing on your deep blue eyes.” Nevermind that my eyes aren’t blue, he spoke to me– nautically– and I was entranced.