Master and Everyone

Vinyl LP



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The fourth Bonnie 'Prince' Billy record in six years finds Will Oldham relaxing into a beautiful groove; similar to 2001's Ease Down the Road, Master and Everyone is quite melodic compared to his Palace or self-titled releases, with less of the dire apocalyptic imagery and more reflections from his literate, anti-romantic backwoodsman. Like most of Oldham's recordings, this one rewards close attention, which reveals recording ambience ranging from creaking wood to a soft patting on the floor (a foot keeping time), and, of course, Oldham's half-resigned, half-plaintive croon. Little gets in the way of these songs. Circular lines from an acoustic guitar demarcate the choruses, a cello adds a bit of emotional warmth to one song, and a few others have the wheezing keys of what sounds like a pump organ. Fortunately, the songs stand up to the examination. The Way (Love me the way I love you) is very nearly sweet, stranded between desperation and hope. Elsewhere Oldham is a true fatalist, resigning himself to the inevitable power of love to ruin his life and using the creepiest of old-timey metaphors to get his point across


  1. Way
  2. Ain't You Wealthy, Ain't You Wise?
  3. Master and Everyone
  4. Wolf Among Wolves
  5. Joy and Jubilee
  6. Maundering
  7. Lesson's from What's Poor
  8. Even If Love
  9. Three Questions
  10. Hard Life