The How-To Palace, 108 N. Main Street in Altus, will be hosting an intimate concert featuring nationally recognized independent folk recording artist Damien Jurado this September.
Jurado is a Seattle, Wash. native that has been on the music scene for more than 20 years. His host of records in that space of time have been released on labels such as Sub-Pop Records—of Nirvana fame—and his current home Secretly Canadian Records.
His music is a blend of folk ballads and mid-tempo pop songs. Jurado is coming off the release of his latest album “Visions of Us on Land,” which is the final installment of a trilogy of albums which began with 2012’s “Maraqopa” and continued with 2014’s “Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Sun.” The albums follow the journey of a character disappearing from society in order to discover universal truths.
His stop in Altus is the final Oklahoma tour date but one only of many on Jurado’s “50 States Tour.” Other stops in Oklahoma include Tulsa, Norman and Stillwater.
Jurado has the intent of exploring all 50 states over a sprawl of time and plans to spend spending a meaningful amount of time in each state through multiple shows taking place in art spaces, venues, community centers, and houses. He’s taking the journey two states and two weeks at a time and has already tackled Indiana and Ohio. Oklahoma and Kansas are next on his list.
Though Jurado is a Washington resident, the idea for the tour came from an Oklahoma personality—Woody Guthrie.
“When I started seeing photos of Woody Gutrie and hearing stories about Woody Guthrie, I think I just automatically assumed, ‘Oh, he’s playing normal concert halls,’” Jurado said. “And that wasn’t the case. This is a guy who is travelling across America—sometimes hitchhiking with a guitar—and he’s showing up at labor camps, union strikes, pickett lines. I thought, ‘This is really cool.’ This is a guy who wrote ‘This Land is Your Land’ and here he’s playing in someone’s living room.”
Jurado also admits his recently finished album trilogy may have also played a part in the design of the tour.
“The protagonist of the story is himself a person who is looking for a way of doing different things,” Jurado said. “The story with him is that he just gives up on his day to day life situation and decides to just disappear, and I guess start doing things his own way. There’s definitely a connection between the protagonist of the story and myself. I think it was definitely inspired by it. I’m on a quest, not just as an artist, but as an individual who gets out of bed and pays the bills and a person that desires connection.”
This lead Jurado to abandon his former method of touring which often including playing five to six month stretches of major market cities. Instead, he’s adopting a way of doing things which is resulting in a new and more personal experience. From this perspective, he has been able to connect with his audience in a way he never has before.
“The experiences outweigh and outnumber the 21 years I’ve done of traditional touring,” Jurado said. “There is no backstage, there is no meet and greet. It’s taking all of that and getting rid of it completely.”
He is also doing his best to reach the fans that he may not been able to reach in the traditional touring format.
In discussing how to reach that audience, Jurado said, “There are these kids that don’t live in major cities who love music and are willing to put on shows. Let’s go there, let’s celebrate that.”
Though by the end of September he will have only covered four states in the U.S., he’s not concerned about timelines.
“This embraces the whole concept behind this thing which is slowing down,” Jurado said. “There’s no rush. I will get to every state in this union—I guarantee it.”
Those interested can see Jurado perform at the How-To Palace on Sept. 22. Tickets can be purchased online through his website at www.damienjurado.com.
Reach Matt Moran at 580-482-1221, ext. 2071.