Every Record I Own - Day 223: Sun Kil Moon Ghosts of the Great Highway
While I have a general affinity for older singer-songwriters in the American folk tradition, I’ve never been too infatuated with any of Mark Kozelek’s work outside of his first album as Sun Kil Moon. Album opener “Glenn Tipton” is a gorgeous and deceptively sublime murder ballad. “Carry Me Ohio” is similarly unfuckwithable. The beefed-up “Salvador Sanchez” sounds like it could be one of Pelican’s early forays into major-key riffage. It’s a good record front to back, but the opening three-song punch alone is worth the cost of admission.
A lot has been said in the press about Mark Kozelek in recent years, and a lot of it isn’t flattering. “War On Drugs: Suck My Cock” ruffled a lot of feathers and prompted at least one charge of homophobia/sexism, though I was always curious why Run The Jewels weren’t subjected to the same criticism. Is it shocking because it came from a subdued folk singer instead of a hip-hop artist? Additionally, I’d heard negative stories about his on-stage behavior but had also heard about some charming off-stage encounters. A colleague of his told me he suspected Kozelek was on the spectrum, which maybe explains the duality.
Sumac played a show with Sun Kil Moon in Portugal back in 2016 and I was a little worried about which side of Kozelek I would encounter. He kept to his backstage room and we kept to ours, though I overheard him talking with the promoter to make sure he was running according to the schedule and that we had an adequate amount of time to soundcheck. So, he was nice to us, albeit in a roundabout fashion.
And for that i’m thankful, because I still enjoy Ghosts of the Great Highway.