Damien Jurado Gets Personal

By Brock Thiessen"Songs are almost like that annoying family member you can’t get rid of — they just keep showing up and I keep having to entertain them,” says Damien Jurado, who’s been playing host for over a decade. It’s a role he knows well; the folk-leaning Seattle songwriter has dropped nine albums, countless EPs and more heartbroken tales than he can remember.

Throughout, Jurado has been a man of fiction, preferring to spin narratives inspired by the lives of others than touch on anything personal. Or at least until his latest LP, Caught in the Trees, as the Raymond Carver of the indie world learns how it feels to be the one you sing about.

"In the past, I compared performing music to acting,” Jurado says. "When you are on a stage and the room lights go dark and the stage light goes on, it’s like someone saying, ‘Action.’ I have to put myself in these characters and take on that role, except this time around the character is me.”

The shift to an autobiographical style was by no means intentional on Caught in the Trees, which he composed alongside band-mates Jenna Conrad and Eric Fisher. He didn’t even realize the album was about him until he was recording it. But Jurado says sometimes life can throw such a curveball that you can’t help but write about it.

"I had been with someone for over 17 years and married to her for 13, and then it ended,” he says. "And the strange part is I wrote about all that stuff. I wrote about people leaving people and death and stuff like that. To have it one day happen to me, it sort of takes you by surprise.”
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Article Published In Sep 08 Issue