Damien Jurado, making changes and taking risks

Steve Gullick

Even at 41, Damien Jurado is already something of a stalwart figure in indie rock, beloved by other singer-songwriters who see their own vision in his, as crooked and uncompromising as it has been.

Since 1997, on various labels and outside the glare of the spotlight he deserves, Jurado has been regularly cranking out records that are excellent from start to stop. And yet they don’t always garner the widespread attention and acclaim they warrant.

Jurado has a feeling about his new album, though. It’s a good feeling. He says “Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Sun,” out on Tuesday, is the first of his records that he doesn’t need to worry about because it has taken on a life of its own.


Just as he did with his previous two releases, 2010’s “Saint Bartlett” and 2012’s “Maraqopa,” Jurado enlisted producer and musician Richard Swift to channel his ideas into something more panoramic. The two are audibly, tangibly emboldened on “Eternal Sun,” giving Jurado a loose-limbed energy he’s not always known for.

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Jurado brings his new songs to town on Thursday for a show at Brighton Music Hall. We recently caught up with him from his home in Seattle.

Q. This is the first of your albums where I found myself dancing to it in my living room.

A. It’s funny, because it’s definitely the first record of mine that someone can dance to, but it’s also not that surprising. Most people don’t know this about me, but I’m actually a huge fan of a lot of dance and electronic music. In my spare time, I listen to a lot of either psychedelic ’60s garage rock, and the only modern music I like is mostly electronic dance music. I also did a recent collaboration with Moby on his new album. I sing on the new single “Almost Home.”

Q. Do you dance, or are you just a spectator?


A. I’m just a listener. I’m not a dancer whatsoever. I’m the guy at a dance show who’s on the side of the wall. I’m a people-watcher and go for the vibe and rhythm and the lights. I love all that.

Q. How come you haven’t explored that on earlier records?

A. That’s a good question. It’s something I’ve been talking about recently. When Richard and I made “Saint Bartlett,” he said to me, “I’ve been a fan of your music for a long time, but you strike me as someone who doesn’t even listen to singer-songwriter music.” And I don’t at all. If I do, it’s some weird, obscure ’60s artist. Richard said, “You have all these influences, but you don’t use them.” And he was totally right. The [expansion of sound] sort of went 3-D and color with the new record. I thought, I’m going to take every influence I’ve ever had and use it to the full potential, to the point where most music writers and critics won’t be able to categorize it.

Q. And yet you’ve always been billed exclusively as a singer-songwriter. Has that been frustrating?

A. Yeah. I’m definitely a guy who has sabotaged his own career. I’ve had my chances to do tours with bigger bands and schlock up my records a bit. And trust me, there are hints of that on different records. I could name you songs and say, “Yep, I wrote this song so that one day it could be on [the TV show] ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’ And it was. And it worked, but at the same time, I don’t want to be as big as, you know, Bon Iver or whoever. I don’t have any desire for that. I’m a father of two. I’m a real homebody, and the more popular you get, there’s more of a demand for you. If it happens, it happens. But I’m not going to go looking for it. I want to be successful at anything I do, but it doesn’t have to be music.


Q. What does this new album draw out of you that wasn’t as apparent before?

‘[With the new record] I thought, I’m going to take every influence I’ve ever had and use it to the full potential.’

A. It was something that happened in 2010. Not long after I made “Saint Bartlett,” I was in a real not-good place in my life. This particular point was really bad: I was severely depressed and didn’t leave the house. I ended up having this dream that both “Maraqopa” and this new record were based on. It was about a guy who disappears and doesn’t come back. It’s not a big secret that I’m a Christian and follow the teachings of Christ. So I had this really intense dream where all these things happened, and it had such an impact on my life that everything started changing. I got back into my faith, which I was far away from. I got into painting again and appreciating things like sound and color.

Q. You had a rebirth.

A. I was born again, not just in the spiritual sense. So that, and the combination of Richard saying to me that I don’t use my influences, had such a profound effect on my life. I needed to start making changes and taking risks, not just as an artist, but as a person. When we did this new record, we just literally removed the brakes from the car and let
it roll downhill. And prayed to God that we didn’t get hit by a car.

Interview has been edited and condensed. James Reed can be reached at james.reed@globe
. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJamesReed.