8 Songs, 29 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Will Oldham, a.k.a. Bonnie “Prince” Billy, changes everything he touches. This exquisite EP of covers and one original, the upbeat “I’m Loving the Street,” recasts most of the material until it’s virtually unrecognizable from its origins. With the assistance of Greg Weeks and Meg Baird of the Philadelphia-based druid-folk group Espers, Oldham finds the back-porch folk-soul resting inside such a disparate collection of tunes as R. Kelly’s “The World’s Greatest,” Björk’s “I’ve Seen It All” and Phil Ochs’ “My Life.” Fans of those tunes would probably pass them without notice at least the first few times around. In place of their familiar arrangements, Oldham puts his own sympathetic mountain folk phrasings. No one would expect to hear Frank Sinatra’s “Cycles” cast as an Appalachian folk ballad, but even the Mekons’ “The Way I Am” goes into deep country with gorgeous harmonies from Baird. Only country songwriter Mickey Newbury’s “I Came to Hear the Music” comes close to its original mood, as Oldham brings it a soft, sympathetic interpretation that sounds like it was birthed in the early ‘70s.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Will Oldham, a.k.a. Bonnie “Prince” Billy, changes everything he touches. This exquisite EP of covers and one original, the upbeat “I’m Loving the Street,” recasts most of the material until it’s virtually unrecognizable from its origins. With the assistance of Greg Weeks and Meg Baird of the Philadelphia-based druid-folk group Espers, Oldham finds the back-porch folk-soul resting inside such a disparate collection of tunes as R. Kelly’s “The World’s Greatest,” Björk’s “I’ve Seen It All” and Phil Ochs’ “My Life.” Fans of those tunes would probably pass them without notice at least the first few times around. In place of their familiar arrangements, Oldham puts his own sympathetic mountain folk phrasings. No one would expect to hear Frank Sinatra’s “Cycles” cast as an Appalachian folk ballad, but even the Mekons’ “The Way I Am” goes into deep country with gorgeous harmonies from Baird. Only country songwriter Mickey Newbury’s “I Came to Hear the Music” comes close to its original mood, as Oldham brings it a soft, sympathetic interpretation that sounds like it was birthed in the early ‘70s.

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