J. Tillman moved to Seattle in 2004 after dropping out college where he was studying god-knows-what. Upon moving there he found a job working at a bakery, where he was allowed to record at night before his 4:30AM shift began. This led to a cassette that maybe 20 people heard, one of whom was Seattle legend Damien Jurado. Damien brought Tillman on tour about a year later, where every night he wowed audiences into exclaiming things like, 'Who is this weird mumbly kid' and/or 'Get off the stage.' Tillman would continue to tour through the US and Europe regardless of 'audiences', 'interest' and 'total lack of promotion or booking agencies'. In late 2007/2008 (ish) Tillman signed with Western Vinyl in the US and Bella Union in the UK and, in 2009, released his least favorite record in his catalog, 'Vacilando Territory Blues'. The following year is kind of a blur. Fast forward to late 2009, in which we find Tillman releasing 'Year In The Kingdom', a bizarre mix of death lyrics and hammered dulcimer, etc., et al.
These songs whisper loudly to slow the world down, to preserve a moment and all its emotions, whether they're pleasant or-- more likely—painful
...a lone wanderer battling solitude with sound.
...a compelling whirl of Laurel Canyon-echo balladry and desolate-psychedelia stomp.
His songs tell of broken hearts and rootless wandering and emotional disillusionment, but belief, or lack thereof, is the dynamo humming in the background.
He builds songs from the barest of bare bones musically, a thing of lightness, a simple acoustic-guitar figure underpinning Tillman’s ghostly, even tender, vocal. Vacilando Territory Blues…rests its head on your shoulder and whispers in your ear.
Intimate, confessional... Lovely, late-night album
Stark yet engaging, the album ripens with ruminative hymns ("Master's House," "Above All Men") steeped in Gothic Americana ("Firstborn," "Laborless Land"), the exception being the jarring and distorted Crazy Horse gold rush of cornerstones "New Imperial Grand Blues" and "Steel on Steel.
GvsB favorite…fans of Drake or Oldham would be wise to check him out