Monday 8 October 2007

Will Oldham a.k.a Bonnie "Prince" Billy

We were just hanging out on the corner near the studio, when Will Oldham made a wide left turn and pulled into a parking space. The first thing you notice about Will is his trademark mustache (often used in combination with a wily beard of haphazard proportions), whether you’d be expecting him or not. It’s a crude observation, yes, but the thing’s bushy, thick as a cattail and twice as long as two flat erasers linked end-to-end. The night was already dark – some just because it was becoming night and some because of an imposing storm system rumbling in from the west. A trail bike was affixed to the top of Oldham’s hood and he got out of the car cautiously. He was wearing pink socks. We weren’t really prepared for any of this as the session came together in a flash of time, the details hammered out just two days prior to the recording. There were possibilities and doubts and finally a confirmation that sounded too perfect to not still keep it in the category of hopeful optimism. We weren’t ready for the pink socks, the bicycle lovery and Oldham actually being there. Being in the presence of this particular American icon is a much more comfortable thing than say, spending the evening or a dinner with Bill Maher. I secretly began thinking the other day what a terrifying thing it would be to have dinner and have to speak intelligently with Maher. It would be relatively tough enough to have a dialogue with Mr. T, though, granted, you could get away with asking a lot of B.A. Baracus questions and at least survive. But Oldham is the icon of a billing that warns you to let him do all the talking or none of the talking. Let him choose, let him make the first move and then follow in step. Most consider the man to have a layer of granite around him that doesn’t allow interactions to get too far. He’s a gatekeeper with very strict requirements for entering and going. This, I’m here to say, is not so true. Sure, even after spending a good hour and a half with Oldham, there’s a tilt to his eyebrow and a faint leer to his gaze that is probably some sort of mechanism, but he can automatically become warm. He’s engaging in everything he does and says, often surprising you with his candidness. These songs – recorded with a sort of autumnal blush to them and a feeling of stark communion—are ideal representations of everything that Oldham is and will always be – a kind enigma with the right to bare whatever it is he damn well wants to bare. We will be listening. We can’t make ourselves not. – Sean Moeller - daytrotter

Mp3 | Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Love Comes to me
Mp3 | Bonnie "Prince" Billy - cursed

Video | Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Strange Form Of Life
Video | Bonnie "Prince" Billy - No Bad News

Bonnie "Prince" Billy