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Musical Pairings: Bill Callahan – Woke On A Whaleheart (paired w/ Amaretto-Roasted pears recipe)

If you like pears and deep, rich caramel flavors, you are in for a treat with the recipe featured today on eating/sf.  The pears are roasted in amaretto which creates a luxurious, earthy sweetness.  And the pears make for a great canvas for different texture combinations depending on whether you choose to top the pears with the almond crunch or Greek yogurt.  I’ve selected Bill Callahan’s first album released under his own name instead of under his Smog moniker: 2007’s Woke On A Whaleheart.  For me, Callahan’s voice invokes a synesthesia that calls to mind deep, rich caramel flavors, making this a perfect pairing.

Bill Callahan is probably best known for his earlier work under the name Smog, under which he relied pretty heavily on a lo-fi aesthetic.  But here, with his first album released under his real name, Callahan has crafted a crisper, cleaner sound.  In that sense, this is a new start for Callahan, and perhaps a good reason to leave his old nom de plume behind.  And genre-wise, this is also a creative “repositioning” for Callahan, as Woke On A Whaleheart is woven together using threads from gospel, blues, soul, folk, country and rock n’ roll.  The arrangements are loose, relatively sparse, and occasionally experimentally sprawling, but instrumentally the album borrows most heavily from country-western and rock n’ roll.  Add in soulful female backing vocals from the gospel music playbook and the occasional funk-inspired bass line groove, and you’ll have a good sense of what the album sounds like.  It is a textured, sensual album of floorboard stompers, rollicking gospel numbers and twanging rockers.  Standouts include “Footprints,” “Diamond Dancer,” “Sycamore,” and “The Wheel.”  Buy it on Insound.

Bill Callahan – Sycamore

Head back to eating/sf to learn how to make Amaretto-roasted pears for dessert for your next home-cooked dinner.

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