Daily Distraction: Listen to new Damien Jurado music ahead of 'Reggae Film Star' album

After recording seven albums during the pandemic, some inspired by vintage TV shows, Jurado is set to release a new record on June 24

Joel Oliphint
Columbus Alive
Damien Jurado

Last fall, Damien Jurado spoke with Alive about unplugging from the internet and escaping into vintage TV shows such as “Alice,” “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.” and “WKRP in Cincinnati.” The places and characters that populated those worlds began creeping into Jurado's songs and found their way onto the album The Monster Who Hated Pennsylvania, released last year on the Washington state songwriter's new label, Maraqopa Records.

Jurado said he wrote and recorded seven albums during the pandemic, five of which go together as a pentalogy, and today he announced the next record: Reggae Film Star, which, when it releases on June 24 (July 8 for vinyl), will be Jurado's 18th full-length studio album (second on Maraqopa Records) and marks 25 years since the release of debut record Waters Ave. S.

The track list for Reggae Film Star includes a song titled "Meeting Eddie Smith," which references a little-known TV extra and stuntman who co-founded the Black Stuntmen's Association in the 1960s. “I first started seeing Eddie Smith in episodes of ‘Gomer Pyle,’” Jurado told Alive. “He's the only African American on the show, for the most part, until the later episodes. But he has no talking parts. He's just a background actor. In one scene he’s in the platoon with Gomer, and in the next scene you see him as a cab driver or as a ticket taker in a movie theater. So I became hyper-focused on background actors. And there's not a lot of information on these guys, either. It leaves a lot to the imagination, which is great for me because, as a songwriter, that's kind of what we do.”

You'll have to wait for the album to hear "Meeting Eddie Smith," but Jurado has released three other singles in advance, which you can listen to below.

More:Damien Jurado on tuning out, slowing down and living with the ghost of Richard Swift