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The Big Takeover Issue #93
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Bill Callahan - Woke on a Whaleheart (Drag City)

27 April 2007

SMOG mastermind BILL CALLAHAN puts his name on this album for a reason. You can tell who it is, no question about that, but it doesn’t sound like Smog. NEIL MICHAEL HAGERTY (PUSSY GALORE, ROYAL TRUX, WEIRD WAR, THE HOWLING HEX) serves as co-producer and arranger, and while things don’t get nearly as rowdy here as in Hagerty’s bands, the acoustic sounds of Smog are augmented by a band often including electric guitar and keyboards. Other elements include scrappy fiddling, lap steel, soulful backing vocals by DEANI PUGH-FLEMMINGS, strings, and glockenspiel. Callahan’s distinctive voice is unaltered, there are still a few quietly intimate tracks, and his quirky humor remains. Such lyric gems as “She was dancing so hard, she danced herself into a diamond” prove that while the spices have changed, it’s the same cook.