Artist releases first all-original track in almost a decade
Singer-songwriter, Will Oldham, who records under the name Bonnie “Prince” Billy, has his newest album, I Made a Place. The storytelling throughout this record exquisitely shows the songwriting talents Oldham endures. I Made a Place is Oldham’s first all-original album in nearly a decade, and his rare ability to express all emotions through his voice and leaving his listeners hanging on for more is something that shines through in this album.
One of the most unique songs on the album, is the track, “This Is Far From Over.” The song begins with a hymn-sounding acoustic guitar melody, where guitarist Nathan Salsburg plucks the strings gently. Oldham then begins singing, “Though half of a life is gone for good/ and we haven’t acted as we should.” He sings the track with his ethereal, airy voice adding his small twist of twang and country-sounding riffs. He begins to give advice to parents and society in general, where he sings, “Be sure you teach your kids to swim and navigate by stars/ above the fate of landlocked/ life is grim when you ignore our will to love.” His wit in this song can be hard to identify at first and can be understood a bit more clearly at the end when we discover the song is about some sort of apocalypse. Towards the end of the track, there is a clarinet solo by Jacob Duncan, which transitions the song into the end verse where Oldham sings, “this is far from over” and expresses the notion of new a life beginning.
Jacob Duncan is featured throughout the album with his clarinet and saxophone. He is primarily featured in the second half of the album, where he begins and ends a few songs, pleasantly making them all flow together. Duo singer-songwriter Joan Shelley and Salsburg are featured on the album as well, where they add a calming, comforting vibe. The track, “You Know the One” showcases Shelley’s delicate voice as she harmonizes with Oldham, creating an alluring blended melody. Another artist featured is Cheyenne Mize, who plays the fiddle throughout the record.
All of the tracks on Oldham’s newest album have meanings much larger than words. His folkloric figure has been admired for generations, writing deviating and bizarre phrases that stick with you. I Made a Place is an album that exhibits all of Oldham’s natural and acquired talents, reminding the world of his brilliant capabilities.