'A History of Every One' by Bill Orcutt is an album of songs: minstrel songs, holiday songs, hymns, marches, cowboy songs, Disney songs, work songs, delta blues. The original tunes themselves are nothing special, well known, but not particularly well-regarded. Most would be filler on a mid-60's Doris Day or Burl Ives LP. What Orcutt does with them however is remarkable: expanding upon techniques developed on 2011's 'How the Thing Sings' and incorporating ideas forged since his recording of 'The Star Spangled Banner' last year, Orcutt interrogates the apparent banality of his material, subjecting it to discontinuity, disjuncture and a fractured repetition that is disturbing and revelatory.
Titled after a line from Gertrude Stein's 'The Making of Americans' and inspired by the scholarship of Elijah Wald and Eric Lott, 'A History of Every One' is a bold re-writing of an important historical thread, an interpretation of a lost text and a bewildering extension upon Orcutt's already singular language.