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When my husband Damien wrote the songs you find on Saint Bartlett, we were living in our dream home. While it weighed in at less than 600 square feet, it had windows on all sides, vaulted ceilings with exposed beams, and best of all, a porch overlooking Vashon + the Puget Sound. That summer was the hottest on record in Seattle, and Damien would escape to the porch with his guitar, singing and writing and watching the Fauntleroy ferry cross below. We didn’t have a television, but he preferred to watch the storms roll in from the west anyhow.
To contrast with this rather delicious vision, it was during those months that some of our dearest people went through some very awful times. It’s a haze of hospital stays and revisiting past failures.
These dark moments, and the hopeful ones too, found themselves imbedded in song; songs that Damien took to Richard Swift in the small town of Cottage Grove, OR. Three weeks in September had been reserved for recording. In the end, it took just one. Though Swift + Jurado were labelmates who had met in passing, the recording processed revealed them to be like minded artists who can [literally, I cannot exaggerate this point] talk for days. Even in the one week spent there, just as much time was devoted to listening to records + talking history as was to recording. For Damien, it was the first album without any female accompaniment; and the first in a very long time without his familiar collaborators.
The results are exceptional. Richard was able to bring out parts of Damien that had been limited in the past; every vocal is first take, live with guitar. Two of the songs were written on the spot; Swift would step out to take a phone call, and Damien would have a new song waiting when he returned. It pulled together Damien’s visions of love and despair, of a perfect cottage and a life unravelling, all in one beautiful 12 song affair. As Damien’s wife, I can’t think of a better representation of that period of time, nor of Damien’s evolution as a songwriter. [Thank you, Richard Swift, for being the one who could see what was waiting to be found.] May we humbly present to you, Saint Bartlett.
Always,
Sarah Jurado

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Damien Jurado
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Damien Jurado
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