Will OldhamPioneering alt-folk singer/songwriter
Unpredictable, wildly prolific alt-folkie
The exhaustingly prolific Will Oldham’s first time in the public eye was his role as a teenage preacher in John Sayles’s 1987 film Matewan, but by 1993 he emerged as the leader of the Palace Brothers on There Is No-One What Will Take Care Of You. Oldham’s cracked country tenor delivered oblique, poetic lyrics over willfully shambolic, lo-fi folk with some bluegrass shadings, and his band’s debut became the Never Mind The Bollocks of the nascent alt-folk movement. Alone and with a constantly shifting cast of cohorts, Oldham recorded under several aliases, including Palace, Palace Music, Bonnie Prince Billy, and occasionally, even his actual name. Releasing a constant flurry of albums, EPs, and singles that flirted with everything from traditional country to post-rock, Oldham ultimately emerged as the indie-rock Neil Young: mercurial, eclectic, influential, and always intensely creative. He also maintained a sideline of acting in indie films, including Junebug, Old Joy, and Wendy and Lucy, not to mention a memorable part alongside Zach Galifinakis in the video for Kanye West's single "Can't Tell Me Nothin'."