Damien Jurado is returning today with the second single from his upcoming, 17th album, The Monster Who Hated Pennsylvania. With his new single, “Tom“, Jurado’s slight baritone glides over the effortless rhythm section with his subtle, dewy, guitar picking driving the song. Writing about the song Jason Woodbury succinctly sums up “Tom” saying “Jurado pulls the curtains shut, blocking out “the light now embarrassed and afraid of the dark,” as he sings on “Tom,” one of the album’s haunting numbers, only to throw them open the exact moment sunshine needs to come flooding in”.
Along with the news of his new album, Jurado also announced his first foray into label running with the aptly named Maraqopa Records. The first single from Jurado’s new album, “Helena,” is a slightly jaunty folk ballad with all the trappings of a Jurado classic that gets to the heart of the prolific songwriter’s quarter-century of art. “Helena” seems like a piece of ephemera, but the moment is captured so precisely by Jurado, who drills so deeply into the quotidian that he’s able to find the purely affecting humanity in its depths.
Jurado’s new album contains ten intense stories of people determined not to be broken by dire circumstances. The self-produced album is sonically among Damien Jurado’s most exposed, homespun ambiance and inspired by the dry sound of records like Lou Reed’s The Bells and Paul McCartney’s Ram. Jurado creates his own Twilight Zone, “a middle ground between light and shadow”, a dimension of imagination, of half-remembered dreams and people reaching out to cross into that liminal space between heartbreak and wholeness. Jurado knows the territory well and knows the secret words to whisper at the right time.
The Monster Who Hated Pennsylvania was self-produced by Jurado and sees him backed by multi-instrumentalist Josh Gordon on bass, guitar, drums, percussion, and keys. The Monster Who Hated Pennsylvania will be released on Damien Jurado’s Maraqopa Records on May 14th.