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Callahan, Bill

I Drive A Valence

Drag City

Until we have a feature film in which BILL CALLAHAN’s words are spoken by the true and deep characters who exist within the songs, the best format will be this lyric book—wait, no, the best format will always be the albums featuring the songs, since they are sung by Bill Callahan, the author and singer, in his own inimitable and completely individual fashion. I Drive a Valence, however, which spans two decades of SMOG/BILL CALLAHAN songs, is a fairly unforgettable look-see; in fact, it’s a definitive-yet-concise trip through the mirror, collecting the lyrics to 70 songs and pairing them with 116 dreamy ink-wash images by the man himself. The nuances and ambiguities within plain-spoke expression are at the exquisite center of Callahan’s gift, and the plain fact of words on paper nails them down in a concrete fashion that signals eternity somehow more concretely than sounds in the air can conjure. I Drive a Valence does this for the listener—makes him/her a reader, while putting Bill Callahan’s songs on another shelf where they sit just as entirely as they do on LP shelves around the world. 8”x5.5” 196-page paperback book.

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