WIll Oldham

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I am listening to ease on down the road and i am not sure i like it , i hated it for months and now am reconsidering how i fell, it seems to similar and quiet to make an inital impression,but the lyrics keep worming into my brain , like if the love child of Eudora Welty and Stephin MErritt moved to Appalachia and was raised by hilbillies. But it seems to well crafted, artifice ridden,folktronic.

anthony, Saturday, 13 April 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link


Momus, Saturday, 13 April 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

i am also honored that you even read my messages, but what are you coca cola, its a theortical word. Did Lacan copywrite difference(sp), did Freud Trademark id ?

anthony, Saturday, 13 April 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Methinks Momus is funnin'.

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 13 April 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

me thinks momus was being a bit of a prig .

anthony, Saturday, 13 April 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

No, I'm totally honoured that you use a word I coined. I'm actually more proud of 'fakelore', though. I want that baby to fly!

Momus, Saturday, 13 April 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

i am trying to plan a show arround that theme

anthony, Saturday, 13 April 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Nothing he's done musically approaches his perf in Matewan.

Tracer Hand, Sunday, 14 April 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

I saw Oldham open once as Bonny Prince Billy, and it was probably the worst concert I've ever seen, opening bands included. They were playing along to a recording and couldn't keep up. My friend, who had never heard of them, was making catcalls. Needless to say, I was unmotivated to buy Oldham CDs.

A year and a half later, my (other) friend plays me I See a Darkness and I love it. Add him to the Chan Marshall Memorial List of Indie Performers Who Suck Ass Live (tm).

matthew m., Monday, 15 April 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Live Ass Sucking! Featuring Chan Marshall and Will Oldham!

I'd pay to see that

electric sound of jim, Monday, 15 April 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Copywrighting difference is exactly the opposite of what Lacan would have done.

Haven't heard "Ease On Down the Road," though, sorry. I've been too into the new Songs: Ohia album. Soo good ..

Dare, Tuesday, 16 April 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

I've seen the fellow live twice, once opening for Godspeed. He wasn't terribly exciting then. Of course most of the songs were from Get On Jolly which he did with Mick Turner of Dirty Three.

A few months later, I saw him with one of his more regular bands, that included David Pajo. It was a much better show. The quality of his live act seems to depend on which cast of characters he is touring with.

Jeff, Tuesday, 16 April 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Pajo, that indie slut. He's been with everyone!

matthew m., Tuesday, 16 April 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

five years pass...

This video seems to be the ur-text of Will Oldham's body of work:

Eazy, Friday, 31 August 2007 17:04 (thirteen years ago) link


jhøshea, Friday, 31 August 2007 17:10 (thirteen years ago) link

he was mildly funny on neil hamburger's call-in show. that's the nicest thing i can say about him

6335, Friday, 31 August 2007 17:29 (thirteen years ago) link

one year passes...

So I was just watching the bonus features on Frost/Nixon and it turns out this guy was the director!

Also "Cocoon" and "Splash." Go figure.

Hadrian VIII, Tuesday, 4 August 2009 02:47 (eleven years ago) link

Bonnie Prince Opie

M.V., Tuesday, 4 August 2009 03:31 (eleven years ago) link

two years pass...

i tried to listen to one of his songs this morning. for the first time. didn't go so well. figured it was finally safe to give him a try in 2012. i almost liked one song. "death to everyone". mostly cuz i like the title. a metal band should cover it and make it into something good. i don't get when he says "and it makes Jose much more fun." who is jose?

i did like the one clip where him and his band are in paris so they all wear berets and pink scarves. that was pretty funny. but everyone loves a good joke at the french's expense.

scott seward, Monday, 4 June 2012 13:10 (eight years ago) link


j., Monday, 4 June 2012 18:58 (eight years ago) link

"hosing" is the name of his racist dog

Roger Barfing (Shakey Mo Collier), Monday, 4 June 2012 19:15 (eight years ago) link

"death to everyone" is great, it makes hosing much more fun, but also:

"a minor place"
"south side of the world"
"one with the birds"
"big balls" (ac/dc cover)

dude has way too many songs and projects etc. there are probably other good ones, but i don't have that kind of energy.

spextor vs bextor (contenderizer), Monday, 4 June 2012 19:29 (eight years ago) link

i only just got into palace/will this past couple of months. ive liked a lot of weird folk stuff for a long time, and i decided to buy 'days in the wake'. the whole thing struck me as a bit jandek, cover art included. took a while to get into. but its harrowing and beautiful. and the blokes got a great sense of humour.


jumpskins, Tuesday, 5 June 2012 12:57 (eight years ago) link

I recall one promo cycle where he rented a room in the Chanteu Marmont and held court I want to say on an actual throne, in regal attire, while various models attended to him with plates of grapes and stuff.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 5 June 2012 13:06 (eight years ago) link

"*He once insisted he would not be photographed by MOJO unless provided with a throne, a crown, a quiver of arrows, an infant and an "authentic-looking" Nubian eunuch"

Number None, Tuesday, 5 June 2012 13:08 (eight years ago) link

lol this guy

lag∞n, Tuesday, 5 June 2012 14:20 (eight years ago) link

me thinks momus was being a bit of a prig .
― anthony, Saturday, April 13, 2002 12:00 AM (10 years ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

one dis leads to another (ian), Tuesday, 5 June 2012 14:43 (eight years ago) link

I haven't paid any attention to his recorded output for maybe a decade but he is VERY smart/funny and he's easily made a half dozen classic records

Roger Barfing (Shakey Mo Collier), Tuesday, 5 June 2012 15:31 (eight years ago) link


lag∞n, Tuesday, 5 June 2012 15:50 (eight years ago) link

I think there's some great stuff on the new album with Trembling Bells, e.g.


(video is a bit mental.)

I think the last album I really loved was Superwolf, besides that I now generally appreciate him as someone who I can rely on to release something nice with a couple of stand out songs every year or so.

Merdeyeux, Tuesday, 5 June 2012 15:54 (eight years ago) link

i jammed ease down the road a bunch of times recently and it was good

lag∞n, Tuesday, 5 June 2012 15:57 (eight years ago) link

most of the Oldham i listen to (love?) the most now is stuff from the last 10 years

typhus in Corfu (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 5 June 2012 16:12 (eight years ago) link

I'm sure it's good I'm just lazy/poor and can't keep up

Roger Barfing (Shakey Mo Collier), Tuesday, 5 June 2012 16:17 (eight years ago) link

All the above. Fine while it's on, but never put it on. I have no problem with "I See a Darkness" being the sole Oldham I ever reach for.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 5 June 2012 16:50 (eight years ago) link

He's the very best.

Badmotorfinger Debate Club (MFB), Wednesday, 6 June 2012 14:51 (eight years ago) link

dude's really gonna get a pass here for "authentic-looking Nubian eunuch"? wtf

decrepit but free (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Wednesday, 6 June 2012 14:53 (eight years ago) link

man dont be such a raincloud w/raincloud shoes

lag∞n, Wednesday, 6 June 2012 15:16 (eight years ago) link

well, plus, that looks like a woman in the picture, doesn't it? african eunuchs were african men turned into eunuchs no? to guard harems and stuff. usually slaves brought from africa to places like persia and the like.

scott seward, Wednesday, 6 June 2012 15:24 (eight years ago) link

although i guess that could be a man. i thought it was a woman when i first looked at the picture.

scott seward, Wednesday, 6 June 2012 15:26 (eight years ago) link

one month passes...


Jacques Renault from Twin Peaks in a supporting role as well.

queequeg (peter grasswich), Saturday, 14 July 2012 07:19 (eight years ago) link

The BPB/Trembling Bells record is my fave thing of his of the last few years.

Simon H., Saturday, 14 July 2012 14:01 (eight years ago) link

six years pass...

Such a vast catalogue but so much of it is unmemorable. Really hard to sift through.

Fedora Dostoyevsky (man alive), Monday, 3 September 2018 18:10 (two years ago) link


Paul Ponzi, Monday, 3 September 2018 20:14 (two years ago) link

and may god go with you both

fuck giving a bear beer (Noodle Vague), Monday, 3 September 2018 20:27 (two years ago) link


dig me out requiem (Ross), Friday, 7 September 2018 16:22 (two years ago) link

The collaboration with Rian Murphy (All Most Heaven), the Amalgamated Sons of Rest, the solo stuff, the twisted stuff, the appearances with Matt Sweeney, Andrew W.K., the Haggard cover record; etc. etc etc.

This gent is on point.

bodacious ignoramus, Monday, 10 September 2018 13:21 (two years ago) link

last one I got was Beware, which was good... but at that point I felt like I owned enough of his records, and now a few years have gone past without me checking in there's not much motivation to go back to the 9 (!) albums i've missed to work out which are worth it

Hmmmmm (jamiesummerz), Monday, 10 September 2018 14:14 (two years ago) link

Had a dream I heard the new one. It was relentlessly avant garde and came with a VR outdoor game, which was one part deliverance style horror but with a bunch of hippies drinking screwdrivers.

Beware is also the last one I bothered with, tho I love the one with cursed sleep

dig me out requiem (Ross), Monday, 10 September 2018 15:32 (two years ago) link

last one I got was Beware, which was good... but at that point I felt like I owned enough of his records, and now a few years have gone past without me checking in there's not much motivation to go back to the 9 (!) albums i've missed to work out which are worth it

I've only really kept up with his 'official' releases since Beware (i.e. not the collaborations or the vinyl/cassette-only stuff) but the most recent (?) one, 'Singer's Grave A Sea of Tongues' is really very good imho.

Steve Reich In The Afternoon (Against The 80s), Monday, 10 September 2018 18:58 (two years ago) link

I haven’t picked up any of his new stuff either but I would definitely see him live whenever he’s in town. I think he’s starting a tour now with a nice band backing him.

Heez, Monday, 10 September 2018 19:53 (two years ago) link

One that I return to is The Wonder Show of the World from 2010. "Troublesome Houses" is one of his best songs imo.

Chris L, Monday, 10 September 2018 23:58 (two years ago) link

two weeks pass...

Will's oral history behind 15 songs that are featured in his new lyrics compendium:


Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 27 September 2018 18:22 (two years ago) link

excellent, thanks

rip van wanko, Thursday, 27 September 2018 19:38 (two years ago) link

one month passes...

Any thoughts on "Songs of Love and Horror"?

(Seemed bizarrely expensive at the place where I'd normally buy from).

djh, Wednesday, 31 October 2018 22:08 (two years ago) link

I'm looking for an assistant. Organizational skills, communication skills a plus. ability to navigate modernity also welcome. DM

— boniface billy (@signifyingwolf) October 31, 2018

Living in or near Louisville KY is also beneficial

— boniface billy (@signifyingwolf) October 31, 2018

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Wednesday, 31 October 2018 22:11 (two years ago) link

Only applicants who Work Hard need apply. (Applicants with a proven ability to Play Hard will be given special consideration.)

greta van vliet (morrisp), Wednesday, 31 October 2018 23:18 (two years ago) link

I could really use a CD80 / POX or something covering the best of his output from the last 10 years or so. I lost track after The Letting Go.

wayne trotsky (Simon H.), Thursday, 1 November 2018 02:44 (two years ago) link

SoLaH is a very pleasing listen to me,,, nice re-workings

bodacious ignoramus, Saturday, 3 November 2018 23:54 (two years ago) link

Was having a drunken wander around Oxfordshire farm tracks, listening to "Sings Palace Brothers" on my MP3 player and my various thoughts included a) if Oldham releases an album, how many is he likely to sell (and what does that equate to in income for him?); b) he seems to do the "releasing lots of music" in a more dignified way than Kozelek; c) SoLaH sounds like it involved very little effort (though may have done) - does that matter?

Obviously, on my walk I had far more interesting thoughts than that but here isn't the place.

djh, Sunday, 4 November 2018 20:11 (two years ago) link

Oldham hasn't released any original material for quite a while

badg, Monday, 5 November 2018 16:23 (two years ago) link

Has anyone seen the book? Is it annotated?

djh, Thursday, 8 November 2018 22:12 (two years ago) link

eleven months pass...

took over Drag City's Instagram account for the day and is currently posting a bunch of pictures of creatures like frogs and stuff flattened dead on pavement.


circa1916, Monday, 4 November 2019 20:54 (one year ago) link

right? i guess i just don't appreciate his art, man.

soaring skrrrtpeggios (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Monday, 4 November 2019 21:20 (one year ago) link

This is even more abrasive then when Olzone took over the Third Man insta and posted a bunch of memes about how grumpy Jack White is

chr1sb3singer, Monday, 4 November 2019 21:22 (one year ago) link

He's extolling the virtues of Crocs on twitter.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Monday, 4 November 2019 21:33 (one year ago) link

one year passes...

The GQ piece with him and Sweeney is a hoot, but this story at the end is ace:

There is a recurrent subgenre in Oldham's work where he revisits and reinterprets a catalog of music, usually music that is fairly obscure. An example is the album he released in 2013, along with singer Dawn McCarthy, of lesser-known Everly Brothers songs, What the Brothers Sang. A while after it came out, his record company let him know something odd—that one song, “Devoted to You,” was doing hugely better online than any other song on the album. Better, in fact, than pretty much anything on the label. And they couldn't figure out why.

Oldham decided to try some experiments. Theorizing that maybe it was because “Devoted to You” was somewhat of an outlier in that it actually was a hit for the Everly Brothers, he decided to test out some other cover versions. He recorded and released his takes on modern country hits by Luke Bryan and Tim McGraw, hoping to repeat the success. Nothing. Now he was in full swing, so he turned his hand to contemporary modern pop and R&B hits by Drake, Ne-Yo, Kesha. Still no response. On the off chance that the success of “Devoted to You” might be down to a confusion with Olivia Newton-John's Grease hit “Hopelessly Devoted to You,” he recorded “There Are Worse Things I Could Do,” another song from the Grease soundtrack. No. “Just wanted to see if folks loved buying big songs,” he says. “It was a lot of fun doing all those, but nothing worked.” And the mystery of why one song had done so well in the first place remained unsolved.

A year or two later, a neighbor in Louisville put a note on Oldham's windshield. What she wrote was this: She was a keen practitioner of Jazzercise, and a song of his, “Devoted to You,” was part of their official warm-up routine. She was leaving the note because there was an upcoming event for Jazzercise instructors in town, and she wondered if he was available to come and play the song.

When Oldham tells me this, I must confess that I harbor some suspicions that I am being spun some kind of yarn here. But I check into it, and I am shamed for my doubts: “Devoted to You” is indeed the final song on the Jazzercise playlist R3–13. It comes directly after Britney Spears’s song “Ooh La La,” from the movie The Smurfs 2. Its appearance on this playlist is, it seems, why the song had become mysteriously popular. And that, one might assume, is where this story should end: a weird tale about where music does and doesn't find a home in this strange modern world.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 25 March 2021 15:07 (one month ago) link

one month passes...

new record is really great, really all over the place. the lyrics are wild and weird and funny.

intern at pepe le pew research (Simon H.), Saturday, 1 May 2021 02:26 (one week ago) link

xp That’s a really cool anecdote… But wouldn’t he have (hopefully) received Jazzercize royalty statements that would’ve tipped him off?

smoking grass, poor caddying. (morrisp), Saturday, 1 May 2021 02:56 (one week ago) link

(or does Oldham have uncashed $70,000 checks lying around his pad like Ty Webb)

smoking grass, poor caddying. (morrisp), Saturday, 1 May 2021 03:00 (one week ago) link

Maybe they just got folded into his regular streaming and radio (lol) royalties? He knew it was a hit.

Joe Bombin (milo z), Saturday, 1 May 2021 04:18 (one week ago) link

I'd imagine Jazzercise pays in to BMI

I'm enjoying Superwolves... it has a mellow, 40-something dad vibe (which I guess fits my own vibe).

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (CBTL) stan (morrisp), Friday, 7 May 2021 18:26 (four days ago) link

the lyrics are wild and weird and funny

God can fuck herself
And it does, hardcore

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (CBTL) stan (morrisp), Friday, 7 May 2021 18:28 (four days ago) link

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