I don’t give a bearded fuck what you think: Will Oldham is one of the greatest songwriters ever. I’ll defend Oldham till hell freezes over and Trump admits to the world that he’s nothing more than a poor bald little narcissist that likes getting pissed on. Don’t believe me? Think I’m blowing smoke up your ass with a lead pipe just for kicks? Great. That’s actually truly fucking fantastic. That just gives me all the more time to convince you that the man on the album cover, that’s neck deep in dog, is a songwriting kung fu masta.
Back in ’93, Will Oldham created a band called The Palace Brothers which consisted of him and a handful of dudes from a Louisville rock band called Slint. Right off the bat, Will and his buddies created an album called There Is No-One What Will Take Care of You, which, according to a bunch of fucking music magazines, is one of the greatest albums to ever have graced this floating blue ball whirling at 1675 km/h. The songs “Ohio River Boat Song”, “New Partner”, and, most likely, “Party With Marty (Abstract Blues)” were created around this period. These songs are featured (in new stunning acoustic versions!) on the album Songs of Love & Horror. The Palace Brothers went on to create three more albums. Not a bad musical lifetime. But this is Will Oldham we’re talking about. The story doesn’t stop there.
After releasing a record under his own name in ’97, Will took on the mantle and megastar motherfucking moniker of Bonnie Prince Billy (say whaaat?!) in ’99. This is the name he is best known for. To say that Will gained some success as BPB would be like telling you that Liberace was kinda gay. Johnny Cash covered the BPB song “I See a Darkness” a year after it was made. Did you get that? That’s Johnny fucking Cash. Do you know how good you have to be in order to make that exclusive list? That’s a Leonard Cohen, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, The Beach Boys, NIN, Soundgarden, and Nick Cave kind of list. Later on, Will Oldham, this calm and whispery folk musician, went on tour with Björk in 2003. The dude fucking exploded. Most of the songs off this album (besides the ones I just brought up before) come from the period between 99-06 outside of “So Far and Here We Are”, “Most People”, and the Richard Thompson cover “Strange Affair”.
According to many fans, the holy trinity of Oldham albums are There Is No-One What Will Take Care of You (1993), Viva Last Blues (1995), and I See a Darkness (1999). This album stretches the ears of fans and listeners to include songs you might not have heard before. And they’re all really fucking good. This album has no glitter, glam, or glitz. These songs are torn down till nothing remains but skin and bones. He presents them in their most vulnerable form to show that these songs are beautiful without any production, heavy instrumentation, autotune, background singers, drum tracks, harmony, or all that other shit that convinces people a raging turd of a song is made of solid gold. Will Oldham songs will stand the test of time. Some have already been going for 25 years. In 25 more years? These songs will still be sung and played cause this motherfucker is a songwriting kung fu masta.