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Bill Callahan: Communication chord

Ben Thompson, The Independent, 11 May 1997

Bill Callahan spares nobody in his songs — himself least of all. Ben Thompson talks to the American who chooses to go by the name of Smog

THERE ARE TWO CATEGORIES OF INSIGHT: the one that elicits a mild shrug of respectful recognition, and the occasional complete table-turner — the insight that goes beyond the commonplace — that eats away at your psyche like a boll weevil in the biscuit tin. It is the latter kind that mournful minstrel Bill Callahan trades in. Callahan is an enigmatic American who releases records under the obfuscatory name of Smog. There's a song he wrote called 'I Break Horses', on last year's four-track CD Kicking a Couple Around (Domino), which can reduce strong men and women — people who work on oil rigs, people who understand the Inland Revenue's new Self- Assessment system — to heaps of quivering gelatine.

Total word count of piece: 1005


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