By Chad Martin
Sometimes there is a person, sitting in the corner, speaking to no one in particular. With quiet meandering acoustic guitar arpeggios barely, yet steadily, holding foundation for his own style of warbling soft lyric, Will Oldham surely sees the darkness that surrounds and confounds our current state of self, using live renditions of cuts from his Palace and Bonnie Prince Billy catalogues.
In “So Far And Here We Are,” Oldham declares, however meekly, “there’s no rest for the wicked, and less for the good.” It’s hard out there for a player, under the thumb of the powerful and seeking solace with what they may. His voice, strong in its convictions, revels in memories both good and dreadful. “The Glory Goes” speaks sadly and fondly of the good times — “The dancing goes on in the kitchen until dawn to my favourite song that does not end.” Then in “Wai” he lays it on even heavier — “The only way I’m leaving you is curling up and die.”
Reading like letters to those both loved and lost and regretted, Will weaves short stories that don’t criticize the human condition as much as they lament it. “Only Someone Running” declares, however defeatedly, that “I’ve seen evil and I’ve seen good.” He puts aside the guitar for the a cappella “Strange Affair,” as a eulogy of his friends, his youth, his family and his enemies alike. Where are they, indeed? In these troubled times, can we not all see the darkness?Drag City, Record Review, Songs Of Love And Horror, Will Oldham