Monday, June 4, 2007

W*Burg Will Oldham

"Today I went to Major Maps to remaster my old album and on the L Train in the morning I was pretty sure I saw Will Oldham. He was wearing the same sunglasses he had onstage at the bowery ballroom. Had he come to walk among the Williamsburgers of his kingdom and like the Burgers of Calais will a sacrafice be demanded?" foreshadows Jeff Lewis to start this masterpiece of spoken indie folk: Williambsurg Will Oldham Horror. (Actually, to be more precise, in this veggie salesman's opinion, this is a masterpiece of guitar and vocal. There have been many types of guitar and vocal combinations set down on record over time, this song is like none I"ve heard before.)

It's a story songs that flows out faster than Subterranean Homesick Blues but with a slacker's nervous anxiety and an ironic 21st century geek sense of humor. It's a song about artistic uncertainty. It asks the ever burning questions in the back of many self conscious artist's minds "is this artist life worth it? could I be doing something better with my time? how come my mom and my friends are my only fans? and how did Bob Dylan become so much better than Arlo Guthrie, who was Dylan comparing himself to? Ginsberg? and who was Ginsberg comparing HIMself to? and why did the Stones need satisfaction in '65 but by '69, if they couldn't get what they wanted, they got what they needed?"

And so he pulls you through the subterranean Brooklyn subway deeper and deeper, wondering if that really IS Will Oldham, until he can't take it anymore. And by about the halfway point his voice has gone from a slick slacker drawl to a stressed out excited pubescent telephone call. The whole thing moves together. His delivery and his lyrics tumble like a locomotive toward the climax on the train tracks.

Listen to the song for yourself. It's brilliant.

Actually be sure you listen first before you watch the video. The song alone is excellent and you'll find yourself trying to keep up with it while you listen, catching your breath. After a few listens move over to the video. It's a perfect fit for the song.

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