By Jennifer Elizabeth Rose (Social/Cultural Writer and Music/Arts Historian)
If The Priest of Bards were one of the Tarot archetypes, songster of the honest, obscure and esoteric, Damien Youth would be him.
This cult hero has been recording and performing since the late 80’s. The New Orleans native lives in humility in his same hometown as many bards of old would have, observing and recording the hidden corners of the human condition of his culture. The 60’s and 70’s saw the re-rising of the song/poet in folk and punk artists and Damien Youth is reminiscent of such as Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens, Tim Buckley, Donovan, Syd Barrett and Lou Reed. (Some of the artists which he also features lovely photography of on his social networks).
In fact, this Gen Yer discovered him about a year ago as a Facebook friend due to posts devoted to such heroes and when I looked deeper at this vast ocean of human, I was pleasantly surprised he was a developed artist himself. His long career and amassed discography notwithstanding, this newer fan attempted to reflect the depth that is Damien Youth, and a career retrospective for my “Picks of the Week” on the Raw Alternative Facebook page attempted to gather the types of songs he writes in their most potent versions.
Older recordings (many of which are only available on cassette) reverberate with a reflective tape hiss that well, 80’s kids can appreciate and younger generations may find ethereal. Newer recordings (some of which are self-recorded) feel more intimate, like his live performances in coffee houses of his home state Louisiana, along with Pennsylvania, California, and other geographical pockets where he has accrued a small but loyal following.
All recordings in the discography are listed on http://damienyouth.bandcamp.com/ and may be purchased in digital format. Many records can also be purchased as CD or vinyl. Physical copies of works which are available and encouraged. The artwork and being able to have his words to read in a lovely befitting package shall not disappoint.
In addition to the Picks of the Week recordings which begin to scratch the surface, here are a few live samples of the performer himself:
“Lies We Tell” 5/19/2012 lat The Grand Midway Hotel in Windber, PA for DraculaCon IV.
“Song for a World that Can’t Feel” 8/28/2011 at The Grand Midway Hotel in Windber, PA.
“The Fortune Teller” 9/17/2010 at Freaks and Wood Nymph Masquerade
Sanctuary Illuminarie in Covington, LA