Bonnie 'Prince' Billy : Wolfroy Goes To Town
Alt country's other other darling, Will Oldham, returns with new album Wolfroy Goes To Town - his eleventh under the Bonnie 'Prince' Billy moniker. Perhaps because of the familiarity of the players, the production has a laid back and easy played-on-the-porch feel, with Oldham's wavering croak front and centre. Sometimes, like on There Will Be Spring, he is accompanied by nothing more than a lazily strummed acoustic guitar, while other times, such as on Cows, a choir of voices and epic '70s rock guitar propel the songs out of the speakers.
No Match begins with Oldham singing a traditional folk melody over a Hank Williams-style electrified guitar, before it morphs into a full-blown country soul number that packs a mighty emotional punch. Quail And Dumplings might be the best song here; it is certainly the most adventurous. A mix of classical Spanish guitar, country shuffle, spaghetti Western, wailing female vocals, and humorous lyrics - you'll have to hear it to understand.
Lyrically, Oldham continues the conversational, semi-autobiographical and literary style that he's come close to perfecting over the last ten years. Whether he's challenging the listener with a confronting opening line ("As boys we fucked each other…") or a weighty question ("When we gonna see we got god on our side?"), Oldham isn't afraid of getting wordy. His everyman tales of lonesomeness and hopelessness inform each song here, but as bleak as the lyrics may seem, Oldham isn't wallowing in a depressing murk - he's merely documenting his experiences, and those of his characters. Enlisting the help of his current touring band, this is the sound of a group of talented friends running through some well-worn songs.
BY ROLAND K. SMITH
Best Track: Quail And Dumplings
If You Like These, You'll Like This: BILL CALLAHAN, SONGS: OHIA, SILVER JEWS
In A Word: Dependable
Out now through Spunk Records