And if you don’t have any Damien Jurado albums, you should remedy that situation. While many of his albums have the feel of autumn in them, Rehearsals for Departure is the quintessential fall album for me. The songs are stark in instrumentation, but warm in tone.
Songs like “Tornado” and “Letters and Drawings” are much like trees with half their leaves left: great beasts showing the starkness of empty branches, yet still bearing the glory of colors to display to the world. The trees (and the songs) should be much denser and livelier than they actually are, but they have not passed into the total starkness of winter.
“Love the Same” and “Curbside” carry the melancholy of the season in their hands, presenting the listener with the realization that winter is coming. “Ohio” and “Rehearsals for Departure” peg the feeling of crisp air that turns ever colder with each passing day. They fade into cold, just as the season does.
But the highlight displays the glory of fall and not its shame. “Saturday” revels in the glory of the season turning, seeing the leaves slowly fall and blanket the ground in a series of tiny events that lead to the great revelation that is fall. The season unfolds itself bit by bit, and so does “Saturday.”
Rehearsals for Departure is a stately old album, just as fall is a stately old season. It is not a season for rashness, nor is it an album prone to excitement. But it is a perfect soundtrack for the season. Check it out.