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The Big Takeover #80 Spring 2017
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Video Premiere: "100 Miles" by Luke Callen

Luke Callen
25 September 2017

Luke Callen: Photo Credit: Dahli.Durley Photography

There seems to be a sense of desperation these days; a sense of loss of place and purpose. A world; a country at odds with itself – searching for a way forward. This feeling, this emotion is the backdrop for Luke Callen’s newest release “100 Miles”, which comes off his debut record I’ll Take It With Me, a full-length exposé into the mind of a new-age troubadour.

Cullen explains, ““100 Miles” walks a line between the personal and the public, the original and the traditional It is a song longing for change; having tasted the fruits of such an experience only briefly one begs for some kind of escape…some kind of relief.”

This dichotomy is ever-present in the track’s chorus; a nod to the lonely, a farewell to the losing, and in sparsely echoing an old traditional folk ballad, a definitive mode of escape. “Hello lonesome goodbye losing / you can stay a little while / but you know I’m on that next plane out of Denver /you can hear that engine roar a Hundred miles”

In both its lyrics and its composition (A finger-picked steel string acoustic guitar and a chucking electric guitar), “100 Miles” revels in the past while ever-existing in the here and now. Its sound is reminiscent of timeless coffeehouse recordings; Townes Van Zandt, Dave Van Ronk, John Prine, and Blaze Foley come to mind.

The sparse but carefully chosen words paint a picture of a man coming to terms with his place. It is not overarching or overzealous, but rather a fair and honest description of time. Of the record at large, Callen says, “It’s a collection of stories; some personal and esoteric in nature, and some with sweeping relevancy or commentary on the world we find ourselves in… all of which I’ll take with me when I go…”

In “100 Miles” we see the personal side to Luke Callen. It is simple poetry, the common language of a people, but in its expression, it is a feeling we have all come to know… the longing for something different.

Originally from the Driftless Region of La Crosse, Wisconsin, these days you can find Calen in his 2000 Chevy Astro Van, somewhere between here and there. A fingerstyle guitar player,Callen began his journey learning by ear the songs off of Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music, an almost mandatory recording in the folk scene. Having toured the country from the American West, South, and Heartland, playing hundreds of shows from campfires to theaters-Luke has had the opportunity to provide support for Dom Flemons, River Whyless, Whiskey Shivers, Charlie Parr, The Lowest Pair, The Last Revel, Robbie Fulks, and Paper Bird, among others.

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