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May 20th, 2008

Album Review: Bonnie 'Prince' Billy – Lie Down in the Light

Whenever a new Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy album is released, it creates a feeling in me not unlike what my Mom probably feels when I tell her I’m coming home: excited, yet deeply concerned. For, who knows what unexpected changes may have taken place?

Now, I love the Billy. I admire the frank depiction of human sexuality, I appreciate the loyalty and adherence to tone, and I take sick delight in the wry sense of humor. And above all, I love the honesty. It transcends lyrical content and even the music itself to create unique listening experiences on each album. This honesty, this effortless self-expression, has produced an oeuvre that is eclectic as it is coarse. To me, 2003’s Master and Everyone is Oldham’s true masterpiece (every fan will pronounce a different album to be his best). But the beauty of Oldham’s catalog is that, like every human being, it is not static, not sedentary. It’s schizophrenic, torn, unsure – constantly vacillating in the tide of his experience.

Lie Down in the Light, Billy’s newest album of original songs, is certainly a departure from anything he’s produced before, yet still bleeds the same plainspoken wisdom of his back catalog. Echoing the sunny disposition and country/folk influence of American Beauty-era Grateful Dead, Crosby Stills, and to some extent late Byrds, the album sounds like an afternoon skinnydip in a sunkissed lake. Dragonflies rest on lilypads in the lazy light, but the crickets aren’t quite ready to chirp yet. It’s a summer album – full of all the sentimentality, hope, and inevitable betrayal that the season implies.

[download] “Easy Does It” + “(Keep Eye On) Other’s Gain” from Lie Down in the Light available for purchase now on Drag City


  1. ‘easy does it’ is great! im liking the sound he’s going with on this new album

    check out the New Riders of the Purple Sage for anyone into the countryside era of the Dead, they take that sound to a whole nother level, Garcia plays steel guitar with em on plenty of recordings.. if you can search out for some live shows of the Dead and the New Riders sharing the same stage, get it! there’s a few amazing shows of them playing together in 1970..

    Comment by jack a roe — May 21, 2008 @ 1:39 am
  2. This is a very pleasant and beautiful vision of the new album. I ordered my copy yesterday evening and hope to receive it within the week.
    Soon it will be time to lie down…

    Comment by jgrefe — May 21, 2008 @ 2:58 am
  3. […] just keeps the surprises comin’. The mercurial and prolific songster, whose new album Lie Down in the Light has been on steady rotation – er, has had a high iTunes playcount – throughout the past week, has […]

  4. […] ‘Prince’ Billy, hot on the heels of his newest album Lie Down in the Light, has taken to to the streets with an earnest ear and a gracious heart. Drag City culled this […]

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