The Will Oldham Connection

I’d heard it before, but the other night I got an earful about how … now I can’t remember quite how it was phrased, but essentially, how my music gave the same emotional impact as Will Oldham‘s music.

Now, Will Oldham and I both come from Louisville, Kentucky, and his name would come up occasionally after gigs. But I’m 8 years older and I headed to New York as fast as I could, so I don’t know if I qualify as having any “Louisville-cool” cred. (My brother knew/knows him – he ran/runs the underground Louisville label GHETTO DEFENDANT – so it does almost seem like I should’ve met him years ago.)

So now, instead, I am meeting with his songs, late on a cool Los Angeles night, dreaming of Kentucky again. I may not have felt terribly at home in the Kentucky I knew, but I feel very much at home in the Kentucky of these songs. These are the dark and beautiful roots I remember, buried under all that horse-farm bluegrass and Dixie Highway asphalt.

© Dudley Saunders