"Asleep Many Years in the Wood" CD
Genres: folk-rock, alt country, country rock
Temporary Residence Limited
PO Box 11390
Portland OR 97211
Jul 28 - Aug 3 2003
Oldham crew is unarguably one of the most important families on
the alt. country and contemporary folk scenes. Their influence spans
far and beyond, for better or worse, be it Palace apprentice Jason
Molina, or the millions of worn-out imitations out there.
But lots of Oldham material, especially that of The
Palace Brothers and Will Oldham's solo outings, is an
acquired taste. I know people who love it and I know people who think
it's the most boring stuff ever committed to tape. That said, the new Anomoanon
record is a departure, and a good one at that; instead of focusing on
depression and gloom, principal songwriter, singer, and guitarist Ned
Oldham has made Asleep Many Years in the Wood a happier
album. It celebrates family and life, most notably the birth of Ned's
son and daughter. The sweet, catchy songs here carry over a
distinctive Oldham touch that fans will appreciate, but also
succeeds in being more accessible and welcoming to new listeners.
Those who once found Palace classics drab and uninteresting
might find that a bit hard to say in the case of this album.
Ned Oldham's songwriting fluency is a particularly amazing
characteristic of Asleep Many Years in the Wood. He's able to
seamlessly blend elements of folk, country, rock, and pop music,
infusing a warm campfire sound into infinitely melodic pop songs.
"Y'Know" is a fine example; its strong country melodies are
met with a very catchy chorus, and harmonica is added to give it a
folky flare. It's such a diverse mixture, except you'd be pretty
surprised how quickly it'll get stuck in your head. Other highlights
are the warm opener, "Sixteen Ways," the moving
"Bluebird of Happiness," and the infectious country rocker
"Tongue and Heart".
Asleep Many Years in the Wood is recommended strongly not
just for Palace fans, but for music lovers in general.
[Vitals: 11 tracks, distributed by the
label, released 2003]