The changing of season is well upon us – trees once emerald green have left their burnt orange and red leaves deep upon my yard, the temperature is dropping, and evening comes earlier and earlier each day. The onset of autumn means the rekindling of old traditions in my house – mugs of hot tea on the porch during sunset, the donning of my favorite wool socks, and comfortable flannel shirts worn for jaunts around town.
This year, I am adding a new tradition to this annual changing of seasons – a soundtrack. I may have found the perfect record to accompany the changes fall brings to my life. The Wonder Show Of The World, the recent release by Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy & The Cairo Gang, is an intimate and contemplative collection of songs, ideally suited for those quiet moments that come when the hustle and bustle of summer dissolve into the hunkered down nature of autumn and, eventually, winter.
The Wonder Show Of The World, like a barren November tree, is both stark and beautiful. Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – nee Will Oldham – and Emmett Kelly, of the Cairo Gang, weave songs hypnotically, layering guitar with voice. Oldham’s lyrical wisdom shines through repeatedly, particularly on gems like the opener, “Troublesome Houses,” and the stripped and somber “Where Wind Blows.” Perhaps the most stunning song on the record is “With Cornstalks or Among Them,” an aching ballad where Oldham’s vocals intertwine with Kelly’s reverb-drenched guitar.
Here’s to cold nights, warm tea and wool socks, and a fine, fine record.
The Wonder Show Of The World is out now on Drag City Records.