Where the Spirit Rests
The fifth solo album from Chris Eckman (The Walkabouts, Dirtmusic, Distance, Light & Sky) is a deep dive into the vagaries of these extraordinary times. Eckman’s luminous songwriting navigates loss, disorientation, redemption and the search for home.
Recorded raw and direct with a small ensemble, the record is framed by expansive sonic textures: treated strings, analogue synth drones and ambient guitars. Where the Spirit Rests was co-produced with British electronic composer Alastair McNeill (Roísín Murphy, Yila) and includes an inspired cast of collaborators: pedal steel maverick Chuck Johnson, avant-garde violinist Catherine Graindorge and Dream Syndicate/Green on Red keyboardist Chris Cacavas.
The All Music Guide called Eckman “one of the most underrated U.S. songwriters, a man who can pack a short story into some image-laden lyrics.” The new album Where the Spirit Rests is amongst his most personal and vivid. A place he has been headed all along.
Track by track, Where The Spirit Rests unspools patient, lengthy songs. Like a grainy Super-8 film, scene builds upon scene, each revealing a kernel of truth, and the stark honesty, at its heart.
“I’m interested in how the story is told, the narrative aspects. The elusive details,” Eckman says. “Maybe that makes things not so easy to navigate. You have to mark out a listening space.”
Take the time. Follow the crooked track that leads from the disorientation of “Early Snow” to the promise of redemption that hangs like hope over “CTFD.” But in these times, it’s still only a tentative destination on the horizon: “I see tomorrow different now/ Both savage and demure/ August comets glistening/ Though still a bit unsure”.
Gradually, cautiously, moving towards a place where the spirit can rest.
"...one can hear the depth of his life’s scars in his voice, and the meditative joy of his playing, burning with intelligence and dark emotion. You never want to live through some things again, but great art captures exactly what happened, no matter how chilling or terrifying, and it’s what you’ll find on Where the Spirit Rests."
- The Big Takeover