Bill Callahan announces first new album in six years, Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest

This marks his first record since 2013’s Dream River

Bill Callahan New Album Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest, photo by Hanly Banks Callahan
Bill Callahan, photo by Hanly Banks Callahan

At last, the Bill Callahan drought has ended. The beloved folk troubadour has announced his return, and fans will only have to wait a month to hear what he’s been working on.

Callahan has just announced a brand new album titled Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest, his first in nearly six years. The album follows up 2013’s beautiful Dream River. It’s set to be released on June 14th via Drag City Records, his longtime label home.

According to a press release, Callahan went through big life changes after releasing Dream River, the biggest of which was getting married and having a kid. “But afterwards, it was suddenly harder for him to find the place where the songs came, to make him and these new experiences over again into something to sing,” the press release explains. “His songs have always been elusive, landing lightly between character study and autobiography, as the singer-songwriter often does. This felt different, though. After 20 years of putting music first, he wasn’t prepared to go away from it completely. Or perhaps, after all the time, the obvious needs to be made just a little more explicit?”

(Read: Bill Callahan: Caught in the Reeds with America’s Post-Modern Patriot)

The press release goes on to describe the 20-track album as having “shorter” songs than usual, a tradeoff for the sheer number of songs themselves. It also says Callahan wrote them “from somewhere beyond his Eagle-Apocalypse-River headspace” and, as a result, the record is “very much its own beast.”

That description fits with the album artwork seen in a teaser video Drag City released. Check out that clip below.

This news arrives just weeks after Drag City announced that most of their catalog is finally available on streaming services. Most Callahan fans probably already bought his records, as that used to be the only way you could listen to him (imagine that!). If you want to keep your collection going, the good news is that Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest is available to pre-order now.

After the album drops, Callahan will be hitting the road this summer and fall for a proper tour through the US and Europe. Check out the album artwork, the full tracklist, and his upcoming tour dates below.

Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest Artwork:

Bill Callahan Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest artwork

Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest Tracklist:
01. Shepherd’s Welcome
02. Black Dog on the Beach
03. Angela
04. The Ballad of The Hulk
05. Writing
06. Morning is My Godmother
07. 747
08. Watch Me Get Married
09. Young Icarus
10. Released
11. What Comes After Certainty
12. Confederate Jasmine
13. Call Me Anything
14. Son of the Sea
15. Camels
16. Circles
17. When We Let Go
18. Lonesome Valley
19. Tugboats and Tumbleweeds
20. The Beast

Bill Callahan 2019 Tour Dates:
06/13 – Pioneertown, CA @ Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace
06/14 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Lodge Room
06/15 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Lodge Room
06/17 – Big Sur, CA @ Henry Miller Library
06/18 – San Francisco, CA @ The Castro Theatre
06/19 – Sonoma, CA @ Gundlach-Bundschu Winery
06/21 – Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom (early show)
06/21 – Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom
06/22 – Seattle, WA @ Neptune Theatre
07/05 –  Lawrence, KS @ Lawrence Public Library
07/06 – Minneapolis, MN @ Cedar Cultural Center
07/07 – Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall
07/08 – Detroit, MI @ Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit
07/10 – Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair
07/11 – Brooklyn, NY @ Murmrr Theatre
07/12 – Jersey City, NJ @ White Eagle Hall
07/13 – Philadelphia, PA @ World Cafe Live
07/14 – Washington, DC @ Miracle Theatre
07/15 – Washington, DC @ Miracle Theatre
07/16 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
07/17 – Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West
07/18 – Oxford, MS @ Proud Larry’s
09/29 – Dublin, IE @ Vicar Street
10/01 – Edinburgh, UK @ Usher Hall
10/02 – Manchester, UK @ Albert Hall
10/03 – London, UK @ Eventim Apollo
10/05 – Paris, FR @ La Cigale
10/06 – Brussels, BE @ Ancienne Belgique
10/07 – Utrecht, NL @ TivoliVredenburg
10/08 – Berlin, DE @ Admiralspalast
10/10 – Copenhagen, DK @ Store Vega
10/11 – Oslo, NO @ Rockefeller Music Hall
10/12 – Stockholm, SE @ Göta Lejon
10/13 – Gothenburg, SE @ Pustervik