After his band Okkervil River performed with Roky Erickson at the Austin Music Awards in 2008, Will Sheff received a call from Roky's manager asking if he'd be interested in producing a brand new Roky Erickson album. Of course Will said yes, and soon after received three CDs with 60 songs Roky had recorded over the course of his career: unreleased 13th Floor Elevators material; reel to reel recordings from his time at the Rusk Maximum Security Prison for the Criminally Insane; cassettes made at his mother's house and abandoned studio sessions from the 80's with his band the Aliens.
Will was given the chance to select the songs he wanted to take into the studio for 'True Love Cast Out All Evil' and in doing so he has managed to produce an amazing album, utilising some of the original recordings and augmenting them so considerately it becomes a vital, thoroughly contemporary piece of work. It's the autobiographical nature of these songs, in light of what we now know to have befallen Erickson, that make songs like 'Please Judge' and 'Aint' Blues Too Sad' almost unbearably poignant, delivered as they are with such bitterly-earned conviction.
The album's narrative is bookended by two of the older recordings, 'Devotional Number One' and 'God Is Everywhere': their lo-fi simplicity gives the album a real sense of intimacy, placing you right in the heart of Roky's story before Sheff's production overdubs layers of strings to heart-stopping effect.
The end result is a compelling testament to Erickson's ability as a songwriter and vocalist - a truly gifted artist who, thankfully for us, has prevailed against the ravages of fate and nature, delivering the album of his life in the process.