you could say this is bill callahan's debut album. although he's sired a dozen albums under the name of smog, he has laid that name to rest and, well, 'woke on a whaleheart'. another debut. with the same maverick spirit of, say, a nilsson or a cat stevens, bill callahan has made an album that is born of no school of music other than what is in his heart and soul. boasting the propulsive, glittering and classically pretty arrangements of neil michael hagerty, this album manages to bypass the trends of the modern day while shunning retro entrapments. with a mix of gospel backing vocals by deani pugh-flemmings of the olivet baptist church, the incendiary guitar work of pete denton, and the honeyed violins of elizabeth warren, the music on this album touches on gospel, tough pop and american light opera. on drag city.