Damien Jurado ‎– Waters Ave S.

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Damien Jurados full-length debut was recorded in the summer of 1996 and released on Sub Pop Records on 21 January 1997.

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In 1997, Sub Pop asked Damien Jurado for individual song descriptions:

"We gave Damien this little homework assignment for the website; Give us some personal descriptions of the songs on 'Waters Ave S'.

Mr. Jurado got an A+ and a big 'ol smiley face on this one.

Wedding Cake - This song, though one of my favorites to play, is also the most difficult. Not musically, just emotionally. The song was inspired by the divorce of my parents. At the time I wrote it, I wasn't sure if I should play it live or not. Well I did, and to this day it still remains a touchy song among members of my family.

Angel of May - When I first submitted this song to SubPop, I didn't think they'd want to use it for the record. Nor did I know how I was going to record it if they chose to put it on. With the magic of Steve Fisk and Ed Carrigan, the song turned out well.

Treasures of Gold - I have no idea what possessed me to write this song. I think it might have to do with what I was listening to a lot at time, Leonard Cohen. I consider myself a fan though I only own his first record. At any rate, it's just a story song. I love the horn work done on the choruses.

Yuma, AZ - This song for some reason is a really popular song among those who like and are familiar with my music. The truth is, I've never really been there. I've just driven through. Even though the setting takes place in Yuma, it actually symbolizes every small town in America. My wish is to have it played over the radio in Yuma, AZ.

The Joke is Over - This is an old song I did on a home recorded tape I never released called "gasoline." Among all the sad or mellow songs on the album, this is the only song that is of it's kind. At first, I didn't think it would fit but now I think differently. It's like sunshine among the gloom. It's also fun to play.

Space Age Mom - This song was very fun to record. Steve brought his therimin to the studio as a "just in case you want to use it" idea. Well, we used it an it really made the song! If you listen closely to the beginning of the song you can hear Steve laugh. He did this while we were doing the clap track. Also, if you wonder if this is really about my mom, the answer is "yes." It's all true.

Circus Circus Circus - Circus3 is only one out of a dozen songs I've written about circus life. I thought since I never got to run away and join the circus like I wanted to, I'd just write about it instead. I always wanted to go to "clown school" but never got the chance.

Hell or Highwater - One of the fun things about making an album like this is that you get to use instruments like organs, optigans, and in this case timpani drums. I've always thought that the music is just as important in telling a story as the lyrics. In this song, the timpanis are a big part of that. They help add the sounds of rushing waters and skies full of thunder and lightning. The harmonium after the choruses gives the effect of sunlight and clear skies after the storm.

Independent - Like The Joke is Over and Waters Ave. S., Independent is an older song I adapted from another home recording called "Leaded." The song was written about a time when I had to chose between friendship and a love relationship. I chose friendship and she chose to walk away for the time being. As a result, she later would move away and I would one day have a song about it.

Purple Anteater - It's hard for me to explain exactly why I wrote this song.

Sarah - In 1993 I lived in this house with some friends of mine. The house was aptly named the House of Funk. There were always people coming in and out. There was a girl I knew who always came by to hang out at the house. Her name is Sarah. This is her story.

Halo Friendly - This song is actually a second part of a story I wrote about an angel. It was heavily inspired by the movie Far Away, So Close. The lead vocals are actually from the scratch track, but we kept it because it had character.

Waters Ave. S. - Originally, this song was called "You Used to Kiss Me on the Bus." I still don't know how I feel about this song. To me it fit perfect at the end of the album. It reminds me of the music you'd hear at the end of a movie as the credits are rolling."

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On July 31st 2020 Damien Jurado gave some insights into the making of his debut in his blog:

"In the summer of 1996, I entered Avast Studios, then located in the Wallingford neighborhood in Seattle, Washington, for the recording of what would be my first full length album for Sub Pop records. I had already recorded the "Motorbike" EP, so I had a sense of what recording in a professional recording studio would be like. The only difference was, where my first EP took only a day to record, and with a producer who I had known since high school, this was going to be a two week session in a what was a Seattle music institution. I had no idea what to expect. For the session I hired my sister Maria for backing vocals, and two friends of mine, Ed Carrigan, and Paul Mumaw, who would join me in tracking all of the instruments. Ed, who was a very talented multi instrumentalist, was on bass guitar, trombone, trumpet, electric and acoustic guitar. Paul, who to this day I would list as one of the greatest drummers I have ever had the privilege of playing with, was on drums, various percussion, and timpani. Steve Fisk who was not only producing, was on board for playing piano, Hammond organ, mellotron, theremin, and optigan. I was very familiar with, and was an established fan of Steve's production, working with such bands as Halo Benders, Nirvana, Beat Happening, Girl Trouble, and Unwound, to name a few. Though aware that I was in great hands, and working with a great team of musicians, I couldn't help to be nervous. I honestly had not a clue as to what I was doing. It all seemed like a dream, that I was living someone else's life. And in no time I would be found out. I wrote all of these songs, but could I perform them in a professional recording studio? Listening back to the album I can hear these thoughts in my vocal delivery. I also recall at the time, having no clear picture as to what was going to happen after this album, or any future album for that matter. Will there be other albums? Was I officially, and technically a "professional musician" now? What did that mean? Was I to quit my job, and just go on the road? Besides playing in various living rooms, and all ages venues with my old band, I had never been on tour. There were no goals of "making it". My only dream since childhood was to be a visual artist. How would I translate what I originally envisioned on canvas, to music? With the tremendous support of family, friends, plus the guidance, and care of those working at Sub Pop records, "Waters Ave S" would be my first step towards finding out."

Tracklist

Wedding Cake 2:44
Angel Of May 5:12
Treasures Of Gold 2:39
Yuma, AZ 2:55
The Joke Is Over 3:19
Space Age Mom 2:10
Circus, Circus, Circus 2:47
Hell Or Highwater 2:05
Independent 3:48
Purple Anteater 2:16
Sarah 4:16
Halo Friendly 3:27
Waters Ave. S. 3:38

Versions (5)

Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
SPCD 374 Damien Jurado Waters Ave S.(CD, Album) Sub Pop SPCD 374 US 1997 Sell This Version
JURA 1996 Damien Jurado Waters Ave S(Cass, Album, Promo) Sub Pop JURA 1996 Canada 1997 Sell This Version
SP 374 Damien Jurado Waters Ave S(LP, Album) Sub Pop SP 374 US 1997 Sell This Version
TNCD01 Damien Jurado Waters Ave S.(CD, Album) Tooth & Nail Records TNCD01 US 1997 Sell This Version
SP374 Damien Jurado Waters Ave. S.(CD, Album, Promo) Sub Pop SP374 US 1997 Sell This Version

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