Every year, an unhealthy Will Oldham obsession swallows me up. Listening to any of his many guises, I find myself blinkered to the outside world and completely caught up in his lyrics and heartbreaking melodies.
Palace, Palace music, Bonnie Prince Billy, Superwolf or just plain Will Oldham, each character he assumes provides listeners with a plethora of observations and predicaments that you find yourself relating to, even if sometimes you don’t want to.
I remember the first time I saw him live, my dog had just died and i was a mess. I almost pulled out at the last minute to go and drown my sorrows in a nearby pub, instead I entered the venue, Cecil Sharp House with red eyes and the hope I might hear one of my favourites, ‘Ease Down The Road’. Will didn’t play it. He played songs from his latest offering at the time, ‘Master and Everyone’, a record so peaceful, yet contains very little peace. I remember thinking that live music couldn’t get any better. There was this man just standing in quite frankly, ridiculous shorts, with a long wispy beard and howling like a wolf to Master and Everyone’s standout track, Wolf Among Wolves.
Apart from the extremely noisy and obnoxious NME journalist standing next to me, everyone in that room was completely silent watching Will offload many of his troubled thoughts to a very attentive and appreciative London crowd….
I can honestly say it was a live changing moment for me. Never had i witnessed such a personal performance. I almost felt like i was a voyeur, intruding on one man and his Autoharp…
Will is coming to London next week and I cannot wait to see him perform again (my 7th time)
Here is a live recording of him performing ‘Gulf Shores’, taken from Lost Blues and Other Songs.