BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006 Bonnie Prince Billy: The Letting Go

 |   |  <1 min read

Bonnie Prince Billy: Love Comes To Me
BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006 Bonnie Prince Billy: The Letting Go

Will Oldham has appeared under so many noms-de-disque it can hardly be his audience's fault if it hasn't been able to keep up: he's been Palace, Palace Brothers, Palace Music, Bonny "Prince" Billy, Bonnie Billy, been a member of various bands, and sometimes even appeared under his own name.

It would take a work of great insight and length to make clear distinctions between all these various personae, but at core Oldham/Billy works in the alt.country area although he doesn't quite fit there that easily: he links to an older American folk/country tradition with discreet references to English hymns and forgotten folk. He's also unique as a singer-songwriter in that he has an ear for a pop progression in his chord sequences.

This album, recorded in Iceland with a local string quartet on some tracks, is among his most (musically) approachable albums and in places there is even a jaunty characteristic (Cold & Wet). But he is, as always, lyrically dense and shadow-filled. Death is ever-present. You might have expected that the stark environment of Iceland would have brought an even more melancholic Oldham to the surface but it is almost the opposite: with warm harmonies from Dawn McCarthy and some almost lush if angular arrangements this has heart and soul in generous abundance, and it is a collection of memorable songs.

This may well be Oldham/Billy's best yet, and that's saying something because the man sets a very high standard for himself. Much recommended.

Share It

Your Comments

Martin - May 9, 2009

Bonnie's The Letting Go is an almost cheerful Will Oldham.Everyones(well) favourite eccentric after William H.Macy .Lushly arranged by his standards ,his singing is literally better than ever.Unusual to the last note a friend who endured the whole album in my car once gruffly suggested the guy was seriously depressed.He gets under your skin like Ryan Adams does.Ryan as a hopeless romantic with maybe the best heart wrenching lyrics available.I also felt his singing on his recent Live Album is helping the muted joy factor surface more than before.His voice is fragile and often he duets really well with a female voice in the mix as shown on the Live outing.He is a gem alright .Probably shave his beard next.

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Richard Thompson; Electric (Proper/Southbound)

Richard Thompson; Electric (Proper/Southbound)

Englishman Richard Thompson's 2010 Dream Attic was a courageous leap of faith: a live album of all new and therefore unfamiliar songs recorded before American audiences. But this godfather of... > Read more

Drive-By Truckers: Ugly Buildings, Whores and Politicians; Greatest Hits 1998-2009 (New West)

Drive-By Truckers: Ugly Buildings, Whores and Politicians; Greatest Hits 1998-2009 (New West)

Those who have missed the career of Drive-By Truckers out of Athens, Georgia are advised to just dive in at their Southern Rock Opera of a decade ago (which gets four of the 16 tracks on this... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . LOLA FALANA: Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl . . .

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . LOLA FALANA: Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl . . .

When the singer-dancer-actress Lola Falana arrived in New York in the early Sixties with, by her account just US$26 in her pocket, she took whatever dancing jobs she could get, mostly in Harlem... > Read more

GETTING OLDER (2010: A greybeard still here

GETTING OLDER (2010: A greybeard still here

A couple of weeks ago my wife and I went to the movies and, for the first time, I took advantage of what I am calling “Senior Discount”. The polite young man behind the counter... > Read more