Damien Jurado doesn’t sound stereotypically Seattle. The singer-songwriter’s output doesn’t reek of coffee or Green River grunge, but he’s probably been known to don a flannel shirt or two, and his recorded canon definitely shows the mark of near-constant rain on its maker. More importantly, he represents the Seattle that, in turn, represents every hyped big city from NoHo to SoMa, Olympia to Athens — melting pots of emotions, styles, and personalities. On his latest, Where Shall You Find Me (Secretly Canadian), Jurado veers off the rocky path he traversed on last year’s I Break Chairs, back into folky territory largely informed by Nebraska-era Springsteen.
“Who wants to make the same record over and over again?” he explains. Similarly, who wants to play the same role again and again? Jurado’s vague narratives offer only shadowy hints of what’s really going on, but it’s clear that he’s trying on hats that aren’t his — father of three, drunkenly spurned lover, cradle-robbing traveling suitor of yore. “They’re just stories,” he insists, but his talespinning is soft and subtle, providing just enough detail to suck in a listener.
Seattle writer Adam Voith, who is touring with Jurado, is a wholly different story. As anyone who’s checked out his Web site, downtimes.diaryland.com, can attest, Voith likes to craft his stories in tender but direct detail. “I met Adam at a Silly’s Chicken in Indiana,” Jurado recalls. “I was trying to order a twelve-piece chicken meal, and while placing my order he noticed my Minor Threat pin I was wearing on my jacket. He interrupted my order to tell me that he too liked Minor Threat. We hit it off right there at the counter. … Within two weeks he was out here and writing his first novel.” That novel, Stand Up, Ernie Baxter, You’re Dead, is out now, with comic illustrations by Mike Lowery. With Waxwing frontman Rocky Votolato (also of Seattle) opening, Wednesday night at the Ramp (2236 Parker St., in the basement of the Berkeley Unitarian Universalist Church) should prove a feast of mellow narrative rumination. The all-ages show starts at 7 p.m., and cover is $6.