So here we are at the second of five days of Will Oldham covers here on Slowcoustic. We have another 5 tracks today from 5 great musicians: Kalispell, Allysen Callery, Wilder Adkins, Mike Hotter (of Swamp Baby) and There Is Danger. So enough of this chit chat, let us get to the music!
Shane Leonard, or Kalispell, provides a truly folk version of Careless Love – complete with down home banjo! Shane had this to say about selecting this song;
“Careless Love” is one of my favorite tracks on Ease Down The Road for its minimalism and powerfully emotive lyrics. Oldham’s only accompaniment is a slowly building drone that becomes more harmonically dense as the melody ascends. In that way, it reminded me of John Cohen’s recordings of Roscoe Holcomb singing chorus-less lyrics over a supportive banjo part. I used a similar approach to retain the sense of space while adding textures that compliment the lyrics’ progressing narrative.
Yes, and yes. All things Kalispell does tends to work for me, so why not this fantastic cover? Look for new material from Kalispell in the coming months as well…rumours are he is recording (and touring) currently.
Allysen Callery provides an ethereal path through her cover of I Gave You from the all time great of an album Superwolf! While not a complete Will Oldham creation, she makes it her own. Why this song was selected has some back story – in her own words;
I was alone in my car when I first heard Bonnie Prince Billy, it was a track from Superwolf . I think I might have even pulled over.I was going through a divorce and his voice opened my heart a bit, I cried. The song was Lift Us Up- but I could never recreate that sacred, insulated starlit space.Bob Kendall helped me with this recording of I Gave You with a light touch of trance, and at the end the backwards part makes me think of looking back on the relationship & again wondering what went wrong.Thanks so much for letting me contribute, we had a lot of fun, Don Julio was involved…
Wilder swooped in late last week with a winner in the form of his cover of Love Comes to Me. I mean, if you close your eyes you can feel Will Oldham in this song – Wilder’s vocals are eerily close to Will’s. Was this an out-take from Will or a new recording, you decide.
Some words from Wilder:
It took me a while to find just the right song. Will Oldham certainly has a lot of material to choose from. I picked this tune, “Love Comes To Me” because I’m a fan of a well written love song. I think the wordplay on this song is fantastic: “hard-hearted, honey-pot, hungry shepherd.” What does that mean even? I have some ideas, but even if I don’t know exactly what the speaker means (and perhaps neither does Oldham) the images evoke a feeling in me, and that I think is their purpose. And I love the last stanza – “In the nighttime when you feel me / and the backs of your knees conceal me” Hmm, backs of knees concealing… to me it sounds like a poetic way of saying they’re spooning. Musically I really like the modulation (key change) of the last verse. It helps to set it apart from the rest of the song and sort of announces the resolution.
I would say that Wilder has an innate skill of performing incredibly great cover songs, but that would be obvious – hope you all saw the cover posted from this past Saturday…
Mike Hotter of Swamp Baby sent over a track that also might channel a bit of the vocal stylings of Mr. Will Oldham. This time we get a bit of electro-acoustic folk straight out of Albany where he is currently located. All Mike had to say about the recording process was that it was “Just me in the basement with my Martin acoustic and a couple of IPAs, with the baby monitor on.” I like his style.
Lastly today we have There Is Danger with their cover of My Home Is The Sea. It is an echoey piano affair that finds harmonies in spades. Self described as “Pretty music with big voices, small voices, guitars, drums, bass, violins, flutes, melodicas, a variety of keyboards and drums.” – seems just about right. What else would you need anyway?
So there you have it, 10 covers total so far this week. Remember to swing back around tomorrow and all week for even more Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy / Will Oldham / Palace Music covers.