24 August 2008

The lake is cracking, it hears me quacking

Duck, Ft. Chiswell, VA

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to share a live Bonnie "Prince" Billy performance with my good friends Josh and Kristen. We attended 2 shows at the Gravity Lounge in Charlottesville. The show was billed as Bonnie "Prince" Billy (Will Oldham) with special guests the Anomoanon (led by Will’s brothers Ned and Paul Oldham), but in many ways it was more of an Oldham Brothers show. Will played a keyboard, tambourine, and provided backup vocals for the Anomoanon songs, and the Anomoanon served as the backing band for the Bonnie "Prince" Billy portion of the show. During a break between Anomoanon/Bonnie "Prince" Billy sets, Will, Ned, and Paul came onstage with acoustic guitars and played a couple of songs that are going to appear later in the fall as an Oldham Brothers release. Although I came mainly to hear Will Oldham, Paul's voice and quiet demeanor really impressed me, which adds to my anticipation of the Oldham Brothers release.

Speaking of concerts, if you happen to be near Sparta, NC on September 6, you should drop whatever you're doing and head over to the Sparta high-school gym to see one of the greats of country music, Charlie Louvin. Louvin is best known for the material he recorded with his brother, Ira. The Louvin Brothers started releasing albums in the late 1940's and released many gems until 1963, when they split. Shortly after the split, Ira Louvin died in a car wreck. Through the years, Louvin Brothers songs have been covered by Johnny Cash, Alison Krauss, Gram Parsons, Uncle Tupelo, Beck, and many others. Last year, Charlie released his first solo album (devoted to Ira), a collection of duets with younger admirers like Will Oldham and Jeff Tweedy. Seeing a musician of Charlie Louvin's stature in a small high-school gym in the mountains of North Carolina (bordering Grayson County, VA, where I grew up) will undoubtedly be a memorable event.

Here's Charlie singing a song he wrote for his brother, "Ira"

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