There is a kind of music that I like to call Lumberjack Rock. It’s the kind of dark (lumbering, if you will) folk music played by guys who sound very lonely, like they’re living out in log cabins in the middle of nowhere with only their guitar and the nighttime stars to call company. The quintessential Lumberjack Rock artist would be Bonnie Prince Billy, he of great anthems to slit your wrist to (one upcoming on the Top 101). And right on his heels would be Damien Jurado.
I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t know what Damien looked like until I found his photo for this post (and he DOES look kinda like a lumberjack!). But I know I could pick his voice out anytime; the desperation, the yearning would always give it away.
“A Jealous Heart Is a Heavy Heart” begins with the lyrics, “I woke up with Death at my window, singing ‘Come out, come out with me,” and yet, it’s actually one of the more hopeful songs in his catalogue, believe it or not. It’s tortured and bleak, but it’s achingly beautiful throughout, and when Damien gathers up all the courage he has left in his ravaged heart to tell his beloved, “Grow old with me,” it’s a moment when time stands still. Again, it’s that yearning, that so-sweet-but-it-hurts-like-hell yearning that we know all too well.