Published Jun 23, 2008Always changing yet consistently transcending past glories, Will Oldham strays from the grimness shrouding his last album to embrace a sense of belonging on the startlingly grand Lie Down in the Light. This ingenious record is much jauntier than 2006s The Letting Go, a comparably ornate collection of songs with dense string arrangements overseen by Icelandic producer Valgeir Sigurðsson. Oldham suggested The Letting Go inexplicably mapped out events yet to come, specifically the loss of his father and, in a bizarre domino effect, the fathers of two close collaborators. Though lush, the inherent solitude of that album has subsequently been broken by an emphasis on connection. Lie Down contains many familial references a lot of joy, love and respect within the dynamic of parents and children, and in the relationships between people and their communal surroundings. Meeting the lyrical mood, the powerful music possesses a sunnier, spontaneous disposition with inventive but relatively stripped down country/folk instrumentation. The ruminative tone of "Easy Does It, voyeuristic intensity of "So Everyone and stark resignation of "You Want That Picture contain rays of discernible power and spiritual angst yet cheerily convey more philosophical hope from Will Oldham than ever before. Simply masterful.
What prompted the sound here?
The choice of instruments had more to do with the people I wanted to play with. We were in Nashville, so I started thinking about what I could add from the local community. I feel an urgency when Im there to access the older musicians because its a great time to spend with those folks before they retire. You get to learn from them in the studio, both through stories and musically.
This record has a warm spirit compared to your last one.
Well, we were in Tennessee in September versus Iceland in December, so its literally warmer. I always like when the outside environment translates onto the recording machine.
Why cover this devotional song, "Ill Be Glad by Shannon Stephens?
Its specifically Christian music but Ive never comprehended the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Its never clicked with me why anyone would wanna die for everyone elses sins, although he seemed like a rad individual. But I like that it comes from a Christian tradition yet reflects something I can sing because I feel this song. There are other God references on the record and I thought itd bring another dimension to those songs. (Drag City)