“And we’re coming out of dreams / And we’re coming back to dreams” is the first thing you hear Bill say as you remake your acquaintance on YTI⅃AƎЯ. Right out the gate, he’s standing in two places at once: meeting up with old friends behind the scenes and encountering them on the record, finding himself coming round the bend and then again as someone else on down the line. Like the character actor he played on Gold Record, writing stories about other people, telling jokes about everyone, and in singing them, becoming the songs. “You do what you’ve got to do / To see the picture” Bill’s got a full band sound going on this one, with him and Matt Kinsey on guitars, Emmett Kelly on bass and backing vocals, Sarah Ann Phillips on B3, piano and backing vocals and Jim White on drums. Jim and Matt sing on one song, too, and some other singers come in, too. Bill plays some synth here and there, and Carl Smith drifts in and out of the picture with his contra alto clarinet, as do Mike St. Clair and Derek Phelps on brass. Somehow in between them all, you might think you hear the distant sound of a steel guitar. And you might—but you might not, too. In this company, Bill continues his journey, tunneling underneath the weathered exterior of what seems to be and into the more nuanced life everything takes on in the dark. With Bill’s voice making the extraordinary leaps and bounds that measure the lives of the songs, the band follow him through passages that seem to invent themselves; other times playing with deeply soulful grooves and/or desperate intensity, as these moments come and go. There’s nothing they can’t do. “I wrote this song in five and forever / I’m writing it right now” Bill sings on “Natural Information”—an admission of the everyday alchemy he’s forever trafficking in. Time passes, triangulating the encounters that went into any one record with two out of any three others, all of it made flesh, new constitution, in our stereo speakers. If every album is its own life, it stands to reason that they’re invariably passing in the night. Cascading images flowing from the stream of consciousness. Turning like pages from the journal, unspeakably personal, then suddenly become tall tales, like a book pulled off the shelf, completely unbound. Headlines flow through. Mirror images, mirthful ones. Bill’s lyrics strain at the lines on the page, not content to separate the printing of the fact from the myth or be confined to ink on paper. They want to fly free. And they do. “I realize now that dreams are real” On YTI⅃AƎЯ’s inner sleeve, alongside his lyrics, Bill celebrates the “exhilaration and dread” of cover artist Paul Ryan’s paintings. Paul’s another one met up with again down the road, his indelible cover imagery on Apocalypse and Dream River now an axis of meaning in the Callahanian world—and in the bright colors found in these new images, a parallel to Bill’s recognitions here. “A breath of exquisite air as we come up from drowning”, sounds like the desired hope for those hearing the songs of YTI⅃AƎЯ.
“What else do you want? / What else do you need?/ What else do you want?/ Thought I gave you my all.” These words from the chorus of “My Goodbyes,” Pascal’s first single, pierce your heart as you feel his cry of pain and desperation through a passionate voice on a song that is so well produced and whose vocal performance is impressive.
Pascal Kerong’A is a Congolese singer-songwriter and a natural stage star based in Austin/Texas. He has performed at many iconic venues in Austin, The Live Music Capital of the World, including “The Far Out Lounge and Stage,” where he opened for the legendary Bill Callahan.
Born and raised in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pascal came to the United States to complete his higher education in Economics when his life took an unexpected turn. A musician, that’s all that’s left of him. On the night of December, at an event organized by the International Office of The University of Texas at Austin, where he was enrolled, Pascal went on the stage to perform a song he had written a week earlier just for fun. That night summed up what you would call an aha moment as Pascal saw his life transform in front of him in a matter of minutes as he left the stage with an uproar of applause he didn’t expect. “It was like a dream,” Pascal says. “I was like, what’s going on here? Is this kid from Congo dreaming, or what?” he says as he laughs.
The next day, Pascal enrolled in an online voice lesson. The same week, he walked up to a pawn shop near his apartment and bought a keyboard and a guitar. The following semester, Pascal recruited a few of his classmates from 5 continents to form an International Music Group that he called “The International Student Music Group at UT Austin” in the wake of the Paris terrorist attack that left many people dead in November of 2015. The idea behind the project was to bring understanding amongst people from different backgrounds and beliefs and to celebrate our diversity. Together they wrote and performed a song titled “You And I For Peace.” The song features six languages. The International Office at The University of Texas sponsored the song’s recording and performance.
On February 22, 2022, the autodidact musician released “My Goodbyes,” his first song. He wrote the song during the Covid lockdown when the city, well the country, was left empty and everybody went home to their families, but he couldn’t go since his family is more than 8,000 miles away. He calls it “My Goodbyes” as a reference to the ravage and scars Covid left on many families who had to say goodbyes to their loved ones unexpectedly. After finding the song on Spotify, Bill Callahan asked Pascal to be the opening act for his Austin annual show on October 29, 2022.
On December 22 of the same year, Pascal released his second single, “Unknown To You,” a song originally recorded by the British singer-songwriter Jacob Banks.
The music Video for “Unknown To You” is set to be released in March 2023.
Pascal is currently preparing to embark on a tour with Bill Callahan through March 2023.
He is also finishing up the release of his first EP set to be released in the Summer of 2023.
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