Sunday, April 29, 2012

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Indian Whistlers' Association

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Will Oldham, who has been writing here of a Wednesday, is currently on the road. Hopefully he will return sometime soon.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Onra - "Hope"

Destiny's Child - "Feel The Same Way I Do"

Sorry for the hiatus - I was on my jollies (see above).

She Left You Bloody, On The Hotel Lobby Floor

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Guest Post | Will Oldham

Scout Niblett - "Nevada"

Emma Niblett is something magic. I'd heard and heard of her, and then I saw a picture of her in a magazine! A mutual friend, Steve Gullick, introduced us. It isn't much to meet someone. I have met heroes in my dreams, and heroes in my waking life. Often the dreams are more instructive. Meeting Emma was an absolute blur of the two. At times I felt like Wendy in Peter Pan, with Emma as Peter.

She asked me to come to sing with her on a session at Electrical Audio. We sang a number of songs together. I didn't sing on 'Nevada', but it is my favorite song from that record. SILVER BELLS. Maybe a year after the recording, there was a Scout Niblett show in the woods above Santa Cruz, California. I was living not far away, in Sausalito. I went to the show, and Emma and I agreed to perform a song that we had sung together on her record, 'Kiss'.

The show was in the hills, in the redwood woods, and I was already disconnected and free from much of my understood existence, staying for a time in parklands on the Pacific ocean. Getting on the stage there in Brookdale and singing 'Kiss' was completely disembodying. Finally I was in a world of song, and not alone. The chord structure brought me back to the first records I had spent money on, music of the 1950s and 1960s. And then a duet, it's living in one's life-of-the-heart/mind but there is another there to establish that it is real and not (fully) insane.

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Will Oldham will be writing from Louisville every Wednesday about loved and significant music.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Guest Post | Will Oldham

Bo Diddley - "Hey, Bo Diddley"

It isn't easy or all too necessary to write much to accompany this. For a while I was thinking to connect Bo Diddley to Harpo Marx, in the unabashed goodness shared in each man's presentation. Then I tried to think of others who shared this, and thought of Roger Miller and Black Sabbath. The work of these people makes me feel clean and powerful, grateful and useful.

Bo Diddley shares something awesome with Merle Haggard insofar as each man kept giving their live audiences the effort and respect that those audiences had earned, all the while never ceasing private labor on themselves and their music. The evidence of Bo Diddley's live concerts show a man who gets the audience agitated and exuberant; his records are deep and wild and different as the years went on. Bo Diddley doesn't (just) deliver happiness, he elicits it. Pow!

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Will Oldham will be writing from Louisville every Wednesday about loved and significant music.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Monday, April 9, 2012

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Guest Post | Will Oldham

Merle Haggard - "If I Could Only Fly"

Merle Haggard is a channeler who has paid ample tribute to those that came before him. He has demonstrated explicitly and implicitly his standing on the shoulders of Tommy Duncan/Bob Wills, Jimmie Rodgers, Floyd Tillman, Lefty Frizzell and many others.

There are songs in his catalogue that seep solidly into the headscape of Kentuckians who grew up when I did, and beyond through his vast influence on the George Straits, Dwight Yoakams, Alan Jacksons, John Andersons, Toby Keiths, and too many others. He is not the original, but he may be the most significant junction.

Beyond secondhand hearings, I got to know Merle's music and influence specifically through the live Phil Ochs record 'Gunfight at Carnegie Hall' and through my brother's copy of Merle's greatest hits. One of the first songs I ever played live was Haggard's 'It's Not Love (But It's Not Bad)' during an open mic at Uncle Pleasant's here in Louisville, KY.

One fantastic impression I have of Merle is that he comes up with his songs as a form of continuance; that he tries to create songs worthy of the space they occupy in the world; valuable to the tradition exemplified by those specific people that came before him and work parallel with him. It's my opinion that I see a humble reverence in his attention to this song 'If I Could Only Fly' by Blaze Foley.

He recorded it twice, once with Willie Nelson and once for a record that shared the title of the song. There are more than a couple of Merle's renditions of the song circulating out there that are not specifically associated with those records. He just seems to be in awe of that song.

There's a nice piece of writing by Nicholas Dawidoff about Merle Haggard that includes an episode of Merle playing the song over and over on his turntable at home (if I remember right). Anyway. Hag's done a lot of gospel, but Hag singing 'If I Could Only Fly' comes as close to a devotional as anything I have heard.

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Will Oldham will be writing from Louisville every Wednesday about loved and significant music.

Monday, April 2, 2012

River Children

Bry Webb - "Rivers of Gold"

King Creosote & Jon Hopkins - "Bats in the Attic"

Photograph of the Morningstar Commune, San Francisco, circa 1966. Songs via Said the Gramophone, at some point.