Fun and odd! Will Oldham revisits his Palace Music songs with Nashville session musicians with great, if bizarre results. I really don't know enough about Oldham to tell if this is a joke, but I enjoyed it. Songs that were previously spare now sound very full with fiddle, pedal steel, and lots of backing vocals. Also, Oldham's voice (really the reason why I haven't been able to enjoy his music for so long) is much more conventional on this album. Still, this isn't typical new country. Beneath the shiny surfaces, I hear a lot of unnerving tension and desperation.|
Now, I'm pretty ignorant of Nashville country music, but I hear a lot more '60's Memphis than country music in the arrangements. It may be that everything coming out of Nashville sounds like this, but I hear more Stax than Grand Ole Opry.
Stand-out tracks: 2, 1, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12, 14, 15
1. ballad, moving, sweet, but tense. lots of strings. very '70's
2. bouncey, funny twangy pop tune. female backing vocals.
3. piano-driven R&B ballad, spooky pedal steel
4. very tense desperate piano-driven ballad
5. soulful ballad, piano with female backing vocals, haunting
6. goofy, willfully stupid bounce
7. dark spaghetti western ballad
8. okay, maybe this sounds like a typical country ballad, but very sweet
9. country-soul, wobbly, unnerving, fiddle and female vocals
10. preaching the word with a gospel choir
11. Sally Timms & Jon Langford cover. Kinda spoken-song, with oddly bouncey instrumentation
12. haunting, spare, dark groove, American Anthology of Folk Music territory
13. layered vocals, sweet pedal steel, disorientating
14. unbearably tense vocals and fiddle.
15. jokey Western swing, "I am a Cinematographer"