Master and Everyone

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February 14, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST

WHAT’S ROCKING OUR WORLD

When a man celebrated for making the most quietly atmospheric indie-folk records of the past decade releases his quietest, most atmospheric record yet, it’s time to settle in for a deep, unhurried listen. ”MASTER AND EVERYONE” is the latest spooky missive from Kentucky’s Will Oldham, recording here under his current alias, BONNIE ”PRINCE” BILLY. Squeezing 10 whispered songs into 34 transportive minutes, it’s an unfailingly restrained blend of acoustic guitar, Oldham’s haunted vocals (increasingly suggestive of an Appalachian Nick Drake), and occasional accompaniment from celloist Gary Lee Tussing or Nashville backup singer Marty Slayton (last seen, incongruously, on tour with George Strait). If you can find 30 minutes in your day for a ”Friends” rerun, surely you can carve out time to give this gentle sigh of a record the attention it deserves.

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Master and Everyone

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Master and Everyone

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