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Ease Down the Road


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Performer Notes
  • Personnel includes: Bonnie "Prince" Billy (AKA Will Oldham); David Pajo, Mike Fellows, Todd Brashear, Catherine Irwin, Ned Oldham, Jon Theodore, Matt Sweeney, Matt Everett, Bryan Rich, Paul Greenlaw, Harmony Korine.
  • Falling somewhere between the creeping gloom of I SEE A DARKNESS and the brighter, more open perspective of MASTER AND EVERYONE, 2001's EASE DOWN THE ROAD finds Bonnie "Prince" Billy (AKA Will Oldham) refining his minimal, poet-with-a-guitar aesthetic. Though still somewhat "old-timey," Oldham's sound is miles removed here from the ragged, backwoods aura he adopted for his recordings with Palace Songs in the early '90s. As Bonnie "Prince" Billy, he employs an understated vocal delivery and a straightforward lyrical and melodic style that borrows from traditional folk, yet feels utterly distinctive.
  • On EASE DOWN THE ROAD, Oldham's concerns turn primarily to love--its devotions ("May It Always Be"), deceptions (the title track), and luminous moments ("After I Made Love to You"). In their balance between detail and meditation, Oldham's lyrics are affecting, and his plaintive voice distils their poignancy. But the dark and violent aspect of Oldham's persona is here too, as evidenced by "Sheep" (an eerie, ambiguous parable with a lightly driving discordant progression on acoustic guitar). Tasteful instrumentation (including soft drums, bass, backing vocals, and the occasional violin or lap steel) completes the focused, intimate feel of this very fine collection of songs.
Professional Reviews
Spin (10/01, p.129) - "...A folk-rock song cycle about love's eternal pyre, filled with the usual mix of loomin violence and explicit sex..."

Q (4/01, p.96) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...Lovely....great songs written from a compellingly skewed perspective..."

Uncut (5/04, p.89) - "A more richly textured sound acted as a suitable backdrop for lusty tales of infidelity..."

The Wire (1/02, p.40) - Ranked #15 in Wire's "50 Records of the Year 2001".

Mojo (Publisher) (1/02, p.69) - Ranked #20 in Mojo's "Best [40] Albums of 2001".

Mojo (Publisher) (4/01, p.88) - "...Lo-fi, spooky, perverse hillbilly blues....Instantly appealing and rewards repeated listening..."

NME (Magazine) (3/10/01, p.32) - 9 out of 10 - "...Beneath the staggering knack for simple tunes and the strangulated gift for writing beautiful words, everything on this truly brilliant record will show you what a callous little scumbag Oldham is..."
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