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Damien Jurado: Visionary

Damien Jurado talks ambition, his new album, and why he just can't quit music

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    Photo by Elise Tyler
    Damien Jurado performs at the Irenic on Thursday, Oct. 27. (Photo by Elise Tyler)

    Damien Jurado might quit music.

    The extensive touring sometimes has the 43-year-old Seattle native in limbo between his passion and the comfort of consistency. Although, music won’t let him depart toward a conventional life just yet -- and it may never, because music is something Jurado is driven by and he is the passenger.

    “I didn’t choose music, I think music chose me.”

    Over the phone, the singer/songwriter explained the gravitational pull of his craft: “Music landed on me. It’s not something I personally sought out to do. It’s a mixture of ‘I feel successful’, and there's a flip-side which is, ‘What in the hell am I doing this for still?’”

    Jurado's songwriting bounces from vibrant psychedelia to somber ballads, and there is a natural gentleness behind his musical creation. Behaving like folk-rock from the late '60s and '70s, his sound is reminiscent of Neil Young.

    Joining Sub Pop more than two decades ago before signing to Secretly Canadian, he's no stranger to the music business. Even when Jurado finds himself wanting to walk away from music, he gets sucked backed in, as if possessed by some musical spirit.

    “I remember on this last tour we were out for like, three months. It was three solid months of touring -- I was exhausted, right? And the first thing I do, the day after I fly in from Europe, is I start writing new material! I was like, you’ve got to be kidding me. This is so weird, really? The songs showed up and said, ‘Oh, no, no, no, we’re not resting yet, we have other plans for you -- we have work to do,’ and that's what it’s like.”

    His 12th and latest album, "Visions of Us on the Land," completes an album trilogy following the story of a man who escapes from society and discovers a land of utopia called Maraqopa. Speaking with Jurado, it seems as though he is the main character behind the trilogy -- trying to desert his career for greener grass.

    “Like what you said to me a couple minutes ago, ‘Please don’t stop making music, there are people depending on it.’ That is the best. To me, that is why I do music. It isn’t to sell a s--- ton of records, or whatever. That's not why I do it. It’s the people -- I won’t be out of this for quite sometime.”

    Damien Jurado stops by San Diego’s Irenic on Thursday, Oct. 27 for a solo, stripped-down and intimate performance of his songs. He’s excited that the Irenic is both a church and music venue.

    “I guarantee you it will be a beautiful night.”

    Musician, people-pleaser, lover, fighter and writer Matthew Craig Burke has been spewing musical words of wisdom since never. He lives off of peanut butter sandwiches, beer and Beck Hansen. Follow his updates on Facebook or contact him directly.