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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bonnie "Prince" Billy: Wolfroy Goes To Town(2011)

Reviewing a Will Oldham release is always a hard task for me. He is my favorite singer/songwriter of all time, and all of his records are treasure of some sort to me. Not many people have been attentive enough to keep up and follow the wildy prolific Mr. Oldham, since his debut in 1994, he has had over 50 releases. Many of these imagining his sound all over again. To me he is the embodiment of a "literary" musician, and many songs are like short stories from the best of the Southern Gothic authors(Carson McCullers, Tennessee Williams). This release comes right on the heels of a new, more-rocking EP, called "The Mindeater". Wolfroy, is a sparse and beautiful record in the vein of past records, Arise Therefore, and Master & Everyone. He has Angel Olson, who has been touring with him for the past few years, on vocals with him, and their vocals complement each others perfectly. Reminding me of a Gram & Emmylou for the coal-mining set.Although all the songs are mostly acoustic, the record is anything but sedate, it builds moods so thick I can already call this one of his best records ever. "Cows" has a section of angelic vocals overlaying that sound like a hymn. Much like the aforementioned "Arise Therefore" record, this is a Winter record through and through. The track"There Will Be Spring" seems to acknowledge this fact altogether, as if Mr. Oldham knows that his songs can be like a warm blanket on the coldest of days. As prolific as he is, and despite all of the accolades, many people still haven't listened to his work, I hope that if you haven't, you will "Wolfroy" a listen. You will definitely find something that sounds nothing like any other songwriter working today. If you like,  he has a plethora of work to investigate.....loud and quiet, acoustic and electric, serene and raucous, but all beautiful as a tree in the fall.