Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – Beware

January 01, 1970



At this point in Will Oldham’s career, nuance is the sine qua non. With his rustic warble as
indelible signature, Oldham’s folky ruminations
vary exclusively in subtle shadings, like the same vista changing moods in
different light and weather. 2006’s The
Letting Go
featured haunting folk duets in chamber group settings; the
strings gave way to fiddle and “good earthly music” on last year’s Lie Down in the Light; and on Beware, pedal steel and mandolin take
Oldham as close to trad country rock as he’s yet ventured.


The constant is Oldham. Though
he’s played the Old Soul since his Matewan days, now his narratives reflect how comfortably he’s grown into that role. The
appeal of the Palace years was the anxiety of a young man with just enough
self-awareness to see what was coming down the road; now that it’s here, no big
whoop. Oldham comes off as that avuncular and
eccentric relative whose occasional TMI moment keeps the starch out of those
family reunions. Like Oldham, that’s something
to give thanks for.


“You Can’t
Hurt Me Now,” “There Is Something I Have to Say” JOHN SCHACHT



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