Albums to watch

Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest

Bill Callahan

Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest

Sixth album of lo-fi, from the Maryland-born singer-songwriter formerly known as Smog

ADM rating[?]


Drag City
UK Release date
US Release date
  1. 10.0 |   The Guardian

    Humour and subtly shattering insights into a new life as a parent add profundity to Callahan’s expansive album
    Read Review

  2. 9.0 |   No Ripcord

    The instrumentation, which includes acoustic strums, a slide guitar, a touch of piano, a measure or two of French Horn, and even garden chimes, harmonizes with Callahan's delivery by adding a little punctuation to his delicately emotive phrasing
    Read Review

  3. 9.0 |   Exclaim

    A record that is an adventurous stocktaking of his own life, set to tastefully arranged folk and an open spirit that welcomes us in
    Read Review

  4. 9.0 |   The Music

    The six-year gap between records found fans and Callahan alike both wondering if he was busy living happily ever after. Yes and no
    Read Review

  5. 9.0 |   Uncut

    This sprawling, beguiling collection strives to reveal all, but every answer brings more questions
    Read Review

  6. 8.5 |   Pitchfork

    A peerless storyteller gazes deep into domestic life and offers a long, sun-warmed double album that is a highlight of his career
    Read Review

  7. 8.3 |   Consequence Of Sound

    The Austin singer-songwriter's stories are as rich and captivating as ever
    Read Review

  8. 8.0 |   All Music

    Unassuming yet frequently profound, Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest is a gorgeous and much-needed return from an artist whose powers have only grown during the time he spent living his life
    Read Review

  9. 8.0 |   The Observer

    Callahan’s gnomic half-smile and his ability to pull the rug out under certainties remain. The shepherd’s in a sheepskin waistcoat, after all – capable of betrayal.
    Read Review

  10. 8.0 |   musicOMH

    At over an hour long, this isn’t an album to dip in and out of – it’s that rare album that you have to commit to, and let it wash over you.
    Read Review

  11. 8.0 |   NOW

    The musical arrangements are even sparser than Callahan’s last studio album, 2013’s Dream River, yet his foghorn voice remains intimately pushed to the forefront of the mix
    Read Review

  12. 8.0 |   Record Collector

    Appalachian-tinged country songs with a Spanish flourish (think a laconic Wille Nelson), mostly acoustic but with the odd harmonica and pedal steel to offset that trademark baritone
    Read Review

  13. 8.0 |   Spectrum Culture

    What sort of Shepherd could coax this mad zoo?
    Read Review

  14. 8.0 |   Loud And Quiet

    The record may lack the dazzling poetic ambition and complexity of his best work, and its monolithic intensity demands perhaps closer concentration than its content ultimately rewards, but it nonetheless remains a rather touching insight into a musician usually too opaque for true empathy, a shift in stance as welcome as it is unexpected
    Read Review

  15. 8.0 |   The Line Of Best Fit

    Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest isn't perfect. Its sprawl lacks the tight focus of Dream River, and a few of the tracks drift in and out of focus. Give it enough time to cohere, however, and this largely successful attempt at rebooting Callahan's songwriting soon acquires a hypnotic pull
    Read Review

  16. 8.0 |   Mojo

    Beautiful and surprising album. Print edition only

  17. 8.0 |   The Irish Times

    A record that walks earthy roads, towards the heavenly
    Read Review

  18. 8.0 |   NME

    A long time coming, but well worth the wait, 'Shepherd In A Sheepskin Vest' is a rich and complex album, layered with beautiful explorations of birth, life and death
    Read Review

  19. 8.0 |   The Skinny

    The seismic changes that have taken place in Bill Callahan's life over the last six years have beautifully informed his 20 song-strong return
    Read Review

  20. 8.0 |   Q

    The cumulative emotional impact is profound. Print edition only

  21. 7.0 |   American Songwriter

    At the end of the 20 tracks, you’ll feel both closer to yourself and to Bill Callahan as you drift along with his expansive, occasionally humorous, always provocative and quirky mindset
    Read Review

blog comments powered by Disqus

Watch it

Roll over video for more options

Hear it

Latest Reviews

More reviews