Amanda Petrusich at The New Yorker:
In 1990, using the name Smog, the singer and songwriter Bill Callahan released his début album, “Sewn to the Sky.” It’s a discordant, inscrutable, and periodically frustrating collection of mostly instrumental, low-fidelity noise, and contains few hints of the lucid and tender folk music that he would be making almost thirty years later. In 1991, Callahan signed with Drag City, a Chicago-based independent record label that specializes in oddball rock and roll. He began collaborating with the producers Jim O’Rourke, who was later a member of Sonic Youth, and John McEntire, of the band Tortoise. His music became progressively more melodic, though it never stopped being deeply idiosyncratic. Callahan just turned fifty-three. His new double album, “Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest,” is a powerful meditation on home and its comforts, a collection of stirring songs that suggest that family can be a kind of salvation.