Bill Callahan's 12th full-length album as Smog, "A River Ain't Too Much To Love," arrives this week via Drag City. The 10-track set was recorded at Willie Nelson's Pedernales Studios in Austin, Texas, and features Connie Lovatt on bass and Jim White on drums; Callahan also produced. Labelmate Joanna Newsom plays piano on "Rock Bottom Riser."
Recorded in just 10 days, this album marks the first time Callahan has worked out the material live before heading into the studio. "This is the first record that I listen to and can say, 'yeah, that's me,'" he states, referring to the often-collaborative nature of his studio work.
Smog has been credited for fathering a very sparse type of song presentation: extremely lo-fi in production, stripped down instrumentation and an overall aesthetic of simplicity. Although his music may be on the hushed side, his witty, cynical lyrics draw most listeners in.
The new album "is about starting from scratch and sort of realizing that reconsidering things that may be dismissive at times," Callahan muses.