Terry Callier

Biography

(this press release written in the fall of 1999)
The Blue Thumb Records proudly announces the forthcoming release of LifeTime, singer, songwriter, guitarist Terry Callier's follow-up to his critically acclaimed 1998 comeback project, TimePeace. The 12-song album continues the richly introspective path that Callier has purposefully pursued since his 1965 debut, The New Folk Sound of Terry Callier (on Prestige Records). Recorded in London and Chicago, LifeTime offers longtime fans a fresh opportunity to revel in his seamless blend of soul, folk, and jazz, while providing a new generation with a thought-provoking gateway to his hallowed catalog.

As always, griot Callier impeccably balances his musical ledger. There are serenely poetic and largely acoustic love songs like "When My Lady Danced" and "Where A Lark Is Singing", the duet "Love Can Do" sung with neo-folk sensation Beth Orton, who Callier had previously recorded with on her latest Arista recording, Central Reservation, as well as two tracks on her Best Bits EP. Pieces like "Holdin' On" (a remake of his classic tune from Fire On Ice on Elektra) and the driving "Nobody But Yourself" find him gently yet firmly prodding folks to take responsibility for the direction of their lives. Callier's observations about the corruption of mankind such as "Comin' Up From Babylon" and the particularly provoking "Fix the Blame" thoroughly justify his reputation as a righteous rebel against forces of oppression.

"People everywhere are searching," Callier insists, "searching for a spiritual base to stand on, reach out from and react to. The way I understand it, I'm supposed to put the message out there as clearly as I can. The rest has to take care of itself."

Rounding out this set of powerful selections is a straight ahead jazz tribute to Miles Davis, entitled "4 Miles". Callier also revisits his early '80s single, "I Don't Want To See Myself (Without You)", his swan song from recording which led to his 15-year absence from the music industry, and the beacon of his rediscovery in the London club scene.

Between 1982 and 1996, the Chicago native left the music business to pursue computer programming, a B.A. in sociology, and support his daughter, who had just entered high school. For fans, this represented the crushing loss of a compassionate an uplifting voice of reason during an era when the world needed him more than ever.

Callier's most celebrated works are three albums he recorded for legendary Chess Records' Cadet subsidiary: Occasional Rain, What Color Is Love, and I Just Can't Help Myself. The title tracks from those records, and others including "Ordinary Joe", "Do You Finally Need A Friend", "Alley-Wind Song", and "Dancing Girl", hypnotized sophisticated listeners with Callier's calming voice and soul-piercing writing, coupled with the peerless orchestral arrangements and production by Charles Stepney. His critical acclaim and loyal following led to a deal with Elektra Records, where he cut Fire On Ice and Turn You To Love.

In Europe, a renaissance of interest in Callier was stirred up by a remix of his 1982 swan song "I Don't Want To See Myself", released on an EP for trendsetter Acid Jazz Records in 1991. It was followed by the Charly Records compilation Best of Terry Callier on Cadet. These put into motion the groundwork for his return. In 1996, Callier was signed to Verve Records worldwide, with Talkin' Loud Records releasing in the UK.

Critical response to his previous offering, TimePeace, was revelatory. USA Today said of Callier, "the long layoff has dulled none of his insightfulness." City Life referred to his music as "music which answers to a higher calling."

LifeTime marks the natural evolution of Callier's ageless message and music. "I tried to put on the things I felt were saying the most either spiritually or in terms of what's happening in the world today." Emphasizing the urgency behind his craft, Callier concludes, "One of the Sufi masters once said that 'the world shines so brightly that all the other lights seem dim.' We have to constantly be reminded of the spiritual side of things because the material world is so in our face."

LifeTime is both a balm and a lightning bolt for the soul.