Bill Callahan, Nathan Bowles, Jake Xerxes Fussell | Duke Campus: Baldwin Auditorium | Clubs & Concerts | Indy Week
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Bill Callahan, Nathan Bowles, Jake Xerxes Fussell 

When: Sat., Oct. 14, 8 p.m. 2017
Price: $10-$38

Bill Callahan's discography begins with 2007's Woke on a Whaleheart, but that leaves out nearly two decades of music before it, when Callahan was a pioneering lo-fi singer-songwriter called Smog. Smog was more a feeling than a sound—a cast of light flickering between late-afternoon dread and dawn's weary optimism, a regard for the world that alloyed raw-hearted love, gimlet-eyed suspicion, and scornful, wounded laughter. Bill Callahan is all that, too, but with the tape noise burned off to let the thorny thatch of his guitar playing, the bottomless well of his baritone, and the gnomic brilliance of his lyrics win the wide acclaim they deserve. This transition occurred on his final album as Smog—A River Ain't Too Much to Love, still a career best—and, on subsequent albums like Apocalypse and Dream River, Callahan has leaned into his role as a trickster oracle, cosseting us with soft sounds before driving home barbed insights that elicit rueful smiles or gasps. Now that Leonard Cohen is gone, he is more our Cohen than ever, but one for a more cynical, sinister age. Nathan Bowles and Jake Xerxes Fussell open. —Brian Howe

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