Cute Couples: Kara Jackson and Bill Callahan

Posted on: November 7, 2023
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// by Riley Hamilton

Cute Couples is a weekly column bringing you album pairings – one old, one new – that go together like wine and cheese.

Why Does the Earth Give Us People to Love? – Kara Jackson 

A guitar-forward record with unflinching lyrics, Kara Jackson’s debut Why Does the Earth Give Us People to Love? is spellbinding. Hailing from Oak Park, IL, the 2019-2020 US National Youth Poet Laureate cruises into music with candid, touching songs about grief, youth, and belonging. Why Does the Earth Give Us People to Love? also features an inspiring addition to the tradition of storytelling in folk music on the standout track “rat.” After the release of her fantastic debut, it’s difficult to imagine Jackson not being a mainstay in music circles for years to come. And she says it herself in the awesome song “dickhead blues” — “I am pretty top-notch.” Read more about Jackson in this Crack Magazine piece

Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest – Bill Callahan

As a massive Bill Callahan fan, I say with total confidence Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest is his magnum opus. Since its release 4 years ago, my partner and I have insisted to everyone willing to listen that this album feels and plays like a roadmap to life — it’s an album as much about finding one’s way in this world as it is about marriage, parenthood, and death. On Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest, Callahan’s writing is the sharpest and most tender of his long, storied career. In 2019, son-of-a-fisherman Callahan emerged from a 6-year absence like Poseidon from the ocean — mightier and more demanding of attention than in the previous 30+ years. He tells of this time away from music plainly and lovingly on the album — “I got married to my wife, she’s lovely.” With Callahan at his most sageful, Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest remains in my heavy rotation, and will through every year and every major life event to come.