Bonnie Prince Billy & The Cairo Gang – The Wonder Show Of The World
Drag City 2010
[tags: acoustic, folk, dark, 2010]
Listen while reading:
There are several upcoming folk releases in 2010 a serious folker mustn’t miss: The Tallest Man On Earth – The Wild Hunt, the new Fleet Foxes record, Matt Bauer – The Jessamine County Book Of The Living, Horse Feathers – Thistled Spring, the new Damien Jurado album Saint Bartlett and of course the new Will Oldham output – just to name a few outstanding highlights. One entry form that list was released just recently and I think most of you have witnessed its arrival. The man with the thousand strange names, Will Oldham, paired up with The Cairo Gang and recorded The Wonder Show Of The World. Judging from the name he chose, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, this is the direct follow up to 2009’s Beware album. (Side note: Funtown Comedown was recorded under the moniker Bonny Billy wherefore I think it wasn’t meant as the follow up to Beware, for a different name means a different sound as Oldham said once).
The sad news first: the label didn’t provide free tracks and so I’m not able to embed any of the fascinating songs The Wonder Show Of The World has to offer. Indeed, there was a previously released track (not included on the album), a Cornay Twitty cover version of Play, Guitar, Play, but it doesn’t really represent the whole record, maybe the mood and the atmosphere are similar, but the overall sound is quite different. Anyways, it’s better than nothing. The closest track from the album to Play, Guitar, Play seems to be the beginning of Where Wind Blows, a dark, very laid back acoustic folk track that gets richer and fuller to the end. But the lo-fi character of Play, Guitar, Play is completely gone, instead Paul Oldham did a very good job mastering the final results. Very clear sound, a skillful play with the depth (voice often in the foreground, decent drums in the back, guitars and bass well placed, not overemphasized but always very clear). I like this sound and it shows the songs at their best.
In comparison to Beware, The Wonder Show Of The World is much more intimate, more reduced and overall darker. There are no “hits” like the wonderful I Am Goodbye, but this is nothing you’ll miss, for it only would have disturbed the atmosphere of the album. But as in nearly every Will Oldham album, there is some hope shining through all the tracks, no resignation – and that seems to be fitting very well for I can’t imagine a resigned Will Oldham. I don’t want to decide if this follow up is better or worse than the previous output, but one thing is for sure, it’s different. Nevertheless it’s another classic in Will Oldham’s repertory, a must buy for 2010 and surely one record that will also fascinate the audiences in the years ahead. Don’t miss the new Oldham and visit this site to find the right distributor to order your copy immediately. Long live Will Oldham!