Will Oldham (Bonnie Prince Billy) Talks with David Wax on the Talkhouse Podcast

"I'm ready for people to tell me how much I suck, because I want to do better."

On this week’s Talkhouse Podcast we’ve got a pair of songwriters who come from different scenes but whose convergence sparked a longtime friendship and even some collaboration: David Wax and Will Oldham.

David Wax is half the core of the band that bears his name, David Wax Museum—the other half is his wife and longtime musical partner Suz Slezak. The duo has been making records and touring the world for the past 15 years or so, largely independently and definitely marching to the beat of their own drummer. Their blend of Mexican-flavored folk and other traditional-sounding influences has been called “Mexo-Americana,” but that’s really just a  starting place. It’s charming, engaging, and always searching. David Wax Museum’s latest album is called You Must Change Your Life, and it was inspired by both a health scare that Wax had recently and by their choice of producer, Dan Molad, who’s a member of Lucius, among other major accomplishments. Check out the title track from You Must Change Your Life right here.

Perhaps you can hear how Wax might get along with today’s other guest, Will Oldham. Oldham is of course known as the songwriting genius behind Palace Music and Bonnie Prince Billy, and he’s been making timeless music since the early 1990s; his latest album is a collaboration with Bill Callahan called Blind Date Party. Oldham is also an actor, which is touched on in this conversation; you may have seen him in one of Kelly Reichardt’s movies, or in A Ghost Story which, if you haven’t seen it, please do, it’s amazing. 

In this conversation, Wax and Oldham talk about how they were able to connect at a folk festival. They talk about how Oldham exists sort of outside the machinery of the music business, and how that’s helped and occasionally hurt (but mostly helped). They touch on the rare songs that Oldham has licensed for film and TV, and David asks Will to come to he and Suz’s barn to play for a blindfolded audience. It’ll make sense when you hear it.

Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks to David Wax and Will Oldham for chatting. If you liked what you heard, please follow Talkhouse on your favorite podcasting platform, and check out all the great written pieces we’ve got on Talkhouse.com. This episode was produced by Myron Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by The Range. See you next time!

(Feature photos courtesy of the artists, edited by Keenan Kush.)

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