Bonnie 'Prince' Billy Ease Down The Road [2CDs] (2001)

 Bonnie 'Prince' Billy — Ease Down The Road [2CDs] (2001)

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy — Ease Down The Road [2CDs]
≥≥  Ease Down the Road is an album by Bonnie 'Prince' Billy. It also features Todd Brashear, Matt Everett, Mike Fellows*, Paul Greenlaw, Catherine Irwin, Harmony Korine*, Ned Oldham, David Pajo, Bryan Rich, Matt Sweeney, and Jon Theodore.
Born: January 15, 1970
Origin: Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.
Location: x
Album release: April 19, 2001
Record Label: Domino (UK)/Palace Records (USA)
Duration:     44:07 + 10:44
01. May It Always Be (traditional; W. C. Handy, Martha Koenig, Spencer Williams) (4:04)
02. Careless Love     (2:07)
03. A King At Night     (4:29)
04. Just To See My Holly Home     (3:41)
05. At Break Of Day     (4:16)
06. After I Made Love To You     (3:54)
07. Ease Down The Road     (3:07)
08. The Lion Lair     (6:02)
09. Mrs William     (3:04)
10. Sheep     (2:55)
11. Grand Dark Feeling Of Emptiness     (3:23)
12. Rich Wife Full Of Happiness     (3:06)
CD2: (Bonus CD)
01. What's Wrong With A Zoo     (4:39)
02. I Send My Love To You     (2:43)
03. Stablemate     (3:22)
UK limited edition bonus disc:
≥≥  Domino Records also released a UK limited edition 2-disc version of the album (Domino WIGCD89X). The bonus disc contains tracks taken from a BBC Peel Session first transmitted on 16 March 1999. The lineup includes Will Oldham, Mike Fellows, James Lo, and Matt Sweeney.
1. "What's Wrong With A Zoo?" - A different version appeared on the Quelque Chose d'Organique OST
2. "I Send My Love To You" - Original version on Days in the Wake (1994)
3. "Stablemate" - Original version on Arise Therefore (1996)
Bonnie "Prince" Billy  Primary Artist
Todd Brashear  Lap Steel Guitar, Voices
Matt Everett  Violin
Mike Fellows  Bass
Paul Greenlaw  Banjo, Voices
W.C. Handy  Composer
Martha E. Koenig  Composer
Ned Oldham  Bass, Guitar, Voices
Paul Oldham  Engineer, Mixing
Will Oldham  Guitar, Mixing, Percussion, Synthesizer, Voices
David Pajo  Bass, Guitar, Mixing, Percussion, Piano, Synthesizer, Voices
Jon Theodore  Drums, Percussion
Spencer Williams  Composer 
Review by Nathan Bush, All Music Guide (Rating: ****)
≥≥  "Will Oldham has long confused record buyers with his constantly changing monikers. Though the persona attached has remained fairly consistent, his releases under Bonnie "Prince" Billy brought a subtle but undeniable shift. Following the cracked, wayward style he adopted on 1997s Joya, Oldham settled on the steady understated "Bonnie" voice of I See a Darkness. The lyrics became more direct and the narrator's strange mythology deepened. If that album embraced its subject as a necessary, even beautiful aspect of life, Ease Down the Road finds the singer comfortable with this new-found acceptance. Backing Oldham is a cast of new and old faces who deliver their parts with an unusually soft, smooth touch. The singer eases into this setting, singing of his estranged upbringing, plans to construct his own kingdom (through questionable means), and love. The latter is Oldham's biggest preoccupation, finding its way into nearly every song, like the album's subplot. Though unable to choose between the love of one woman and the ability to be with whomever will suit his needs, the narrator is largely unconcerned with the conflict. Ease Down the Road features some of his most direct dealings with the subject on "May It Always Be" and "After I Made Love to You." As the album develops, this material is balanced with the more characteristic musings of "The Lion Lair," "Sheep," and "Grand Dark Feeling of Emptiness": songs that trace the same fictional histories found on I See a Darkness. The end result is the natural and necessary expansion of a unique songwriting voice. Seeming more confident than ever, Oldham's Ease Down the Road is a wonderful addition to a catalog that should earn him a place among the finest songwriters of his age, or any age."
≥≥  C'est la version anglaise de l'album (label Domino) avec un CD bonus de 3 titres provenant d'une "Peel Session" de 1999.
Editorial Reviews/
≥≥  The second installment of Will Oldham songs recorded under his nom de plume of Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Ease Down the Road finds Oldham playing his quintessential role as the crack-voiced acoustic troubadour. He is backed by a drunken choir and a rickety orchestra featuring, among others, brother Ned Oldham, avant-garde director Harmony Korine, Papa M's David Pajo, and a gaggle of longtime musical comrades from Oldham's first group, Palace. In comparison to the first Bonnie "Prince" album--the spectral I See a Darkness--the mood is warm, playful, and concerned mainly with love, infidelity, and the joys of the flesh; "She's a fine looking lady, and she likes to go down on me," croaks Oldham on "A King at Night," "And I like to go down on her too..." Lewdness aside, though, there's much to recommend Oldham's latest incarnation as a serious artist, rather than some lo-fi freak, suitable only for a niche audience; the lazy, sleep-encrusted love balladry of "Break of Day" drags on the castoffs of a raggedly clothed Bob Dylan, while "After I Made Love to You" gently embraces the gospel tradition, albeit a gospel to the joys of infidelity, with Oldham whispering of "doing something filthy / in a rented room tonight". He's made better albums, but Ease Down the Road finds this lo-fi Lothario reclining into a comfortably gritty middle age. -- Louis Pattison
By Matt LeMay; March 31, 2001 (Rating: 7.9)
≥≥  Throughout history, prophecy and insight have been regarded as two of the greatest misfortunes that can befall a human being. Wise men and oracles have been almost unanimously portrayed as tortured souls, forced to come to terms with a truth that the average man will barely be able to glimpse over the course of his life. It's hard to say whether Will Oldham possesses any kind of supernatural perceptiveness, but there have been times in his recording career when one has definitely gotten the sense that there's some truth beyond our own comprehension that haunts him. Oldham's voice aches with pure fragility; when he's at his best, it's impossible to tell whether he's on the verge of a complete breakdown or a transcendental revelation. Either way, it's that sense of powerful emotion and understanding just below the surface of Oldham's quavering voice that has made his music so personally compelling.
≥≥  Thus, it follows that Oldham's most intimate recordings have always been his best. On the classic Palace record Viva Last Blues, and his first LP under the Bonnie Billy moniker, I See a Darkness, Oldham's voice seemed to materialize into a palpable presence, a haunting, troubled apparition that, though alarmingly human, seemed to carry with it a supernatural constituent. I See a Darkness was the sonic equivalent of a sublimely beautiful nightmare. A tangible sense of impending doom managed to coexist with a more abstract acceptance of the eventuality of death, resulting in an album that flawlessly expressed near-infinite permutations of the inexplicable relationship between man and death.
≥≥  If I See a Darkness was an album of fear, Ease Down the Road could best be seen as an album of contained joy and resignation. While I See a Darkness was kept at a veritable whisper, and rarely deviated from the sparsest of arrangements, Ease Down the Road is not only Oldham's most fleshed-out work to date, but also his most sonically diverse. The result is a fairly uneven batch of songs that, while sometimes hinting at past glory and the prospect of new musical directions, suffers from a lack of the heart-wrenching melody and intimate delivery that have made Oldham's past records so moving.
≥≥  While only five people (including Will Oldham and brother Paul) played on I See a Darkness, Ease Down the Road is credited to twelve individuals, including David Pajo, Oldham brother and Anomoanon frontman Ned, Chavez's Matt Sweeney, and "filmmaker" Harmony Korine. Considering that many of the twelve contributors to the record are credited with three or four instruments, it makes sense that the album would be a much thicker sounding affair than previous outings. Tracks like the album's opener, "May It Always Be," and "After I Made Love to You," begin with relatively sparse arrangements, but develop to include multiple layers of vocals, pianos, and guitars. Both of these songs, like many on Ease Down the Road, vary greatly in quality within the songs themselves.
≥≥  "After I Made Love to You" develops gracefully along a fluid bassline and gorgeous melody until a single blast of digital synth destroys the organic feel of the song. "May It Always Be" suffers from some more dire faults, most notably the lack of memorable traditional melody that Oldham's record so often benefit from. Like all of Ease Down the Road's less spectacular tracks, the flourishes of sound on "May It Always Be" don't seem to have any particular purpose; the expanded sonic vocabulary comes at the cost of economy and purpose, a cost that proves to be unfortunately detrimental.
≥≥  Though a good portion of Ease Down the Road tends to drag, there are a few noteworthy tracks that showcase Oldham's amazing songwriting in full form. "Grand Dark Feeling of Emptiness," a minor-key acoustic ballad, bears a closer resemblance to the songs of I See a Darkness than anything else here, and one of the few worthy of the Bonnie "Prince" Billy moniker. "Careless Love," the album's most emotionally powerful track, consists simply of Oldham singing a delicate melody that drifts in and out of falsetto over little more than a few pulsating chords. Of the more fleshed out tracks, "Just to See My Holly Home" is by far the most successful-- a sing-along style track that bursts with genuine happiness and blissful surrender.
≥≥  Eight years into his recording career, Will Oldham finally seems to be on the verge of overcoming the curse of the uncannily perceptive; it seems fully possible that in the near future, he'll be able to apply every ounce of his understanding of the human condition to an album of pure merriment and tranquility, rather than fear and darkness. ≥≥  Ease Down the Road is without doubt a transitional record, and as a result, the many new sounds contained within the album don't always mesh seamlessly. But the promise of a new direction for Will Oldham, coupled with the impressive, though admittedly rare high points of the record, more than compensates for any disappointment.
Bonnie Prince Billy
Ease Down The Road lyrics
I took her on a simple trip
To see her husbands family
And on the way upon her hip
Was laid my head down gently
All due respect was meant and all
The winds were in agreement
That this was answering the call
Of awkward and true feeling

A fireman her husband was
And so to give him duty
I duly tried to light a fire
Upon his rightful booty
But beauty was my treasure then
As through the hills i drove her
And taught her that another man
Could have made love to her

Strange is good if it is kept
A secret with the lovers
Who love their mates
And love themselves
And need the love of others

Through the window i could see
The fields and clouds all passing
As in the passenger position
Eleanor was thrashing
I stopped the car we got a beer
And then eased down the road
A little guilt, and some guilt spilt
And added to our load © Alasdair Roberts and Bonnie Prince Billy — with Alasdair Roberts & Bonnie Prince Billy v Alistair Hulett Tribute Concert 2012.
Studio albums:
There Is No-One What Will Take Care of You – Palace Brothers (1993)
Days in the Wake – Palace Brothers (1994)
Viva Last Blues – Palace Music (1995)
Arise Therefore – Palace Music (1996)
Joya – Will Oldham (1997)
I See a Darkness – Bonnie 'Prince' Billy (1999)
Ease Down the Road – Bonnie 'Prince' Billy (2001)
Master and Everyone – Bonnie 'Prince' Billy (2003)
Sings Greatest Palace Music – Bonnie 'Prince' Billy (2004)
Superwolf – Matt Sweeney & Bonnie 'Prince' Billy (2005)
The Brave and the Bold – Tortoise & Bonnie 'Prince' Billy (2006)
The Letting Go – Bonnie 'Prince' Billy (2006)
Lie Down in the Light – Bonnie 'Prince' Billy (2008)
Beware - Bonnie 'Prince' Billy (2009)
The Wonder Show of the World - Bonnie 'Prince' Billy and the Cairo Gang (2010)
Wolfroy Goes to Town - Bonnie 'Prince' Billy (2011)
Notes *:
Born: Harmony Korine, January 4, 1973, Bolinas, California, United States
≥≥  An American film director, producer, screenwriter, and author. He is best known for writing Kids, and for directing Gummo, Julien Donkey-Boy and Mister Lonely. His film Trash Humpers premiered at Toronto International Film Festival and won the main prize, the DOX Award, at CPH:DOX in November 2009. In 2013 his film Spring Breakers went on a world wide premiere.
≥≥  Korine has directed a number of music videos for artists such as Sonic Youth, Cat Power and Will Oldham (e.g. No More Workhorse Blues). In addition, he sang on Oldham's "Ease Down The Road", and co-authored the lyrics of Björk's musical composition "Harm of Will" from her album Vespertine (2001). In 1999 Korine and Brian Degraw of Gang Gang Dance released a music CD SSAB Songs. "I don't really know what it sounds like", Korine explained to i-D magazine. "I only listened to it once. I think it's the kind of album I'd only listen to once". The tracks labeled "Harmony" on Songs in A&E are named after Korine by Jason Pierce of Spiritualized, who also made the soundtrack to Mister Lonely. "Harmony Korine" is the lead track on the solo album Insurgentes by Porcupine Tree lead singer Steven Wilson. He has also recently directed a music video for Gold on the Ceiling by The Black Keys, from their album El Camino.
Birth name: Michael Scott Fellows
Also known as: Miighty Flashlight, Michael Fellows
Born: September 20, 1965
Origin: Washington DC, USA
Instruments: Bass guitar, guitar, drums, piano, keyboards, harmonica
≥≥  Mike Fellows AKA Miighty Flashlight (born Michael Scott Fellows on September 20, 1965) is an American musician who has performed and recorded with a variety of groups and artists since the early 1980s. Such acts include Royal Trux, Silver Jews, and Will Oldham as well as being a member of the 1980s post-hardcore band Rites of Spring, with which he played bass guitar.
Solo work:
In 2002, calling himself Miighty Flashlight, he released an eponymous album which drew comparisons to J.J. Cale and Discharge.
In 2004, as Mike Fellows, he made Limited Storyline Guest which was released by UK label Vertical Form.
Apart from the occasional guest guitar solo, both albums were home-recorded entirely by Fellows alone.
Miighty Flashlight- Miighty Flashlight (2002)
Limited Storyline Guest - Mike Fellows (2004)

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy Ease Down The Road [2CDs] (2001)