Universal acclaim - based on 6 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Callahan's work seems of its time and makes you aware of the artist behind it. And Rough Travel, though ultimately only for established fans, turns out to be a very good snapshot of where that artist's music stood at the end of the last decade.
  2. 80
    "Say Valley Maker" and "Rock Bottom Riser" are hypnotic highpoints, but best of all is "Diamond Dancer," an incongruous slice of hillbilly funk on which he channels his inner Gil-Scott Heron. [Jun 2010, p.83]
  3. It's engagiing enough that even the happily perplexing nine-minuter "The Well" breezes by with no danger of outstaying its welcome. [May 2010, p.117]
  4. You’re hearing an overall group, overall sound, an hourlong unity. It’s a great nightclub set--about a quarter of it taken from his record “A River Ain’t Too Much to Love,” with a few older Smog songs (“Bathysphere,” “Our Anniversary”)--by a bar band that happens to have Bill Callahan in it.
  5. It would appear then that Callahan’s soul, like everyone else’s, is still up for grabs, but until the next record indicates what direction he’s decided to take or what road events have forced him down, Rough Travel For a Rare Thing is a darkly beautiful reflection of the continuing struggle.
  6. Nothing terribly exciting here, but as it comes from a guy who made his bones as one of the most genuinely fucked-up-sounding people in music, it may be a welcome relief to hear him act like an adult.

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