Live: Bill Callahan @ The Troubadour, 7.1.09

Photo by David Greenwald

In my earlier review, I called the songs of Bill Callahan‘s tremendous latest, Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle, “shadowy and sad”; live, those shadows turned majestic. Callahan’s a singer/songwriter, but on much of Eagle, he puts aside the acoustic guitar for evocative electricity, a sound he embraced to great effect at the Troubadour on Wednesday night. He was joined by a second guitarist, a cellist, a violinist and a drummer, with the dry brushed drums and the string instruments arcing gracefully over the wet guitar work — a particularly gorgeous confluence of tones that made new songs (“Jim Cain”) and old gems (“Our Anniversary”) alike soar. I’m over my allotment of bird metaphors, but it was nothing but joy to watch Callahan not only pack the Troubadour (restoring my faith in folk listenership after Monday) but take his already lofty sound to new heights.

Previously: First Look: Bill Callahan – Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle