Reinvention is the key word for Seattle songwriter Damien Jurado, 41 years old and on a hot streak with a new album, “Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son,” his third in three years with Oregon producer/multi-instrumentalist Richard Swift.
In 18 years journeying into rock and folk music (Jurado is the godfather of our current folk boom), he has not shied away from weirdness. But this druggy, headphone record is his freakiest move to date.
“But I’m completely drug-free,” he says by phone. “What you’re hearing are the sounds of euphoric freedom.”
Jurado’s album-release concert is Friday at the Neptune, with special guest Naomi Wachira.
“Brothers and Sisters” is painstakingly put-together, instruments treated with reverb and overdubbed in layers, and bells ringing dramatically. There is also chance woven in. We hear Swift playing without actually knowing the songs, and Jurado’s high voice twisted into unusual vocal takes while standing, sitting and pacing around Swift’s home studio.
On the phone, Jurado said he was under the influence of Charlie Parker and Christianity.
“Jesus asked Peter to walk out on the stormy waves, man. That’s kind of what it felt like. I’m being pulled out of the boat and I have to walk in this hurricane. But if I’m trusting, I’m going to step out. It is a very psychedelic feeling.”
The best song on the album is “Magic Number,” with its breakbeat drums and high bass line. Jurado says the “most free” one is the six-minute “Silver Donna,” which rides one chord over and over again (the original version was 12 minutes). It is the same chord prominently used on “Maraqopa,” the title track on his last album.
“On ‘Maraqopa,’ I was just opening the door,” he says, “and compromising myself a little bit, still writing songs that I thought people would like. For instance ‘Museum of Flight’ and ‘Working Titles.’ With this record I figured out I wasn’t going to do that anymore. It’s the record I wanted to make. There was a sense of playing it safe on ‘Maraqopa,’ kind of. This time ‘safe’ is out the window.”
9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17, The Neptune, 1303 N.E. 45th St., Seattle; $16.50 (877-784-4849 or stgpresents.org).
Andrew Matson: email@example.com or @andrewmatson