Y’all collect stuff? I bet you do. I collect stuff.
Specifically, Grumproro and I collect albums that Will Oldham makes. Sometimes he records under that name, sometimes as Palace or Palace Music. He usually goes by Bonnie Prince Billy.
We love the guy, and we love his music. He often takes his songs in new directions—with new groups of musicians and instruments—and lets them evolve. They’re the same songs, but they’re always different. Why keep re-releasing the same (different) songs? He puts it this way:
Now more than ever we have this wild, practically non-navigable map of recorded music with not a lot of guidance as to what to do with the privilege and responsibility for how to deal with it. We’re told that we have this amazing access to decades and decades of great recordings but what do you then? It’s like being thrown as an orphan child into the middle of London, Tokyo or New York City and being told, ‘Go forth, the world is yours!’ I feel a little bit gun-shy about introducing new songs into this mass and sometimes think, ‘Well, let’s visit these other songs and in so doing maybe put a little trail-marker down for people to understand and orient themselves in this musical wilderness.’Interview with Record Collector Magazine
I’m frequently overwhelmed by how many options there are out there. Have you seen the shampoo aisle lately? The canyons of frozen pizzas? As the weekly new music thread perpetually reminds me, there’s always going to be more music than I know what to do with. I think that’s why I love Mr. Oldham so much. He’s prolific—our pretty huge collection barely scratches the surface of his catalogue—but he’s also focused on what’s already there. And he keeps track of how it changes. And it’s rewarding to follow his ear where it takes him. To go along with him and pay attention along with him.
Take a look, won’t you:
The parts with my finger in the frame are deliberate.
What do you collect? Why do you collect it? Show us your stuff! We all want to see!