Looking like some kind of sublime Turkish Santa Claus, Mr. Oldham just released a perambulatory music video for “I Am Goodbye” off his forthcoming record, Beware, set to drop March 17 on Drag City. Click the image above to watch.
US & Canadian tour dates after the jump:
Taken from Domino
Joining Bonny deep in the mix of Beware, the roll-call of top players include the band (Josh Abrams, Jennifer Hutt, Emmett Kelly and Michael Zerang) and special guests (Dee Alexander, Leroy Bach, Jim Becker, Robert Cruz, DV DeVincentis, Jon Langford, Greg Leisez, Rob Mazurek, and Azita Youseffi)!
Breaking through the dirt and shooting upward into our atmosphere is a new variety of exotic Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy plant. Stronger. Stinkier. It blooms in low light and cold but thrives in the sun as well, showing enticing spots and eating small creatures as they wander into its jaws. They had it coming, they were weak…and you’re next! Beware.
Though Beware shares spit with its immediate predecessor released this past summer, Lie Down in the Light, it’s reach is longer and stronger, more grandiose. Where fiddle and steel contribute their rustic timbre alongside guitars and voices, a thickening thud of low tone rolls beneath, giving the record a bottom that’s fun to watch bounce in new clothes. This indensifies the air and heralds Beware as Bonny’s biggest, most ambitious record to date – yea, bigger and more ambitious than even The Letting Go! A listen or two through and you too may conclude that this could also be the great Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy contempo-country record – though, as always, the ‘Prince’ goes his own special way, even when climbing the charts with brawny arms and classic titles like “I Don’t Belong to Anyone,” “You Can’t Hurt Me Now,” and “I Am Goodbye.”
Beware is a much more measured exploration of the soul’s frailty and the sorry state of human relationships than your typical, everyday, bleaked-out, all-and-nothing roots rock platter. Song titles suggest half of a heated dialogue, perhaps just one side of a super-apocalypto phone call. Yet, there’s humor here as well, some of it too cute to call black. Lyrically, domestic ripostes are mixed with I-thou asides, statements of lusty selfhood and subtlety in between the lines, examining culpability and the need for release and rebellion, if you must know. Basically, if you haven’t learned already, love goes down mazy, anfractuous paths, on some days giving rise to irritations (both spiritual and physical) and the difficult consideration of an alternative fate. Sometimes all you want to do is f**k. Then there’s the times of fun, laughter and learning, and the sudden appreciation of your partner, your only friend. And with all these things in hand,
Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy says Beware.
Out now, Is It The Sea? is a new live album pulled from Will Oldham’s sold out tour of Scotland and Ireland in the Spring of 2006. Bonnie is backed by Edinburgh’s Harem Scarem on harmonies, fiddle, flute, banjo and accordion. Glasgow’s Alex Neilson joins on drums and percussion. You can buy a copy here.
It seems like it’s hard to go a week without finding some news on Will Oldham. But, just like all Oldham news past, this latest development is just as exciting. This fall, Will and his two brothers Ned and Paul are releasing an EP of original tunes…sure to delight, of course. I know by this point you might think that I have some mp3’s to share with you…but like usual, I’ll have to disappoint. But! I do have the incredible artwork for the project, as well as a video to wet the appetites for all things Oldham.
From the artist, Kevin E. Taylor:
“I recently finished the artwork for an upcoming Oldham Brothers EP release due out sometime in the fall. The brothers wanted to give a nod to Francisco Goya’s etching series, “Los Caprichos“. I really liked the idea, since I’ve always observed some similarity (if I may be so bold) in theme, subject matter, and general darkness amongst our images. Presumably, it’s a Spanish release, so I’m not sure about availability as of yet, but if you’re a fan like me, you’ll track it down. I’m really honored and excited to have the opportunity to work with the Brothers, as I’m most certain that they embody some of the finest song writing happening today.”
Also, in other exciting news, Drag City is going to be releasing Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy’s classic album I See a Darkness as well as Palace Music’s 1995 album Viva Last Blues. ON VINYL. Keep your eyes on the Drag City website for release info!
Pantaleimon’s sparse, austere compositions are textural expressions of emotional vacancy that, in their numbness, bristle with a sense of long-repressed resentment. The songs, private whispers through frosted windows, ache with the futility of glass-eyed sorrow. Her newest full-length, Heart of the Sun, is a remix of her earlier work Mercy Oceans. It also features four previously unreleased tracks including a collaboration with Strings Of Consciousness and a cover version of Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy’s ‘Even If Love’, from his masterpiece (in my opinion) Master and Everyone.
Why are things so hard sometimes?
They just are. Once my brother looked at me with shame many years ago; my head was hung low and I was in a dark and silent brood. He scorned me angrily, saying to me “What’s your fucking DEAL? Things aren’t so TRAGIC all of the time.” And I knew he was very correct in this. If I remember right, Bill Murray led the crowd in Meatballs to chant “It just doesn’t matter!” and where this is not true, it helps to throw the balance on the other side every once in a while; onto the Not True side, onto the desired-reality side. Things are also hard because hard is good. A hard penis is good for a yearning vagina or sphincter, and a hard road is better for tire traction than a soft road. Easy makes lazy, makes shallow, makes for poor company. SOME times.
How do you deal with the lonely times?
At this point in my life, I am rarely lonely. This is new for me. I am 38 years old, and it took me a good 36 or 37 years to enjoy my own company, and to enjoy fully the quietness of that state. Prior to recent times, being alone meant being scared, and I would deal with it through reading, drinking, or enjoying the proxy companionship that movie-watching provides. Or writing, or running scared. Sometimes doing objectively horrible things! But those days are not here for now. As easy at it is to deny or forget, doing maintenance was always the best way of dealing with the lonely times. Weeding, sweeping, responding to letters. Things that, unfortunately do not give immediate visceral satisfaction. Still, when the tasks were done, I would feel happier, and the time for sleep, and dreaming, would be closer at hand.
Your music is deeply inspired. Not having the talent of a singer/songwriter such as yourself, will you please tell me how I can convey your music in real life? If the world is a stage to act upon how can I act out a Bonnie “Prince” Billy album?
Dear Mr. Perkins,
Whoa! I wrestle with this very question every day. So I will answer it for me, and hope that there’s something you can relate to.
When I was a teenager, I did not really drink or take any drugs; I was relatively “straight edge”. But I was hungry for stimuli and adrenalin and endorphins. When people or experiences or foods or weather modified my internal chemistry in an intriguing way, I wanted to bottle it for later consumption. This is what making music became good for: a possible medium for the capturing and transmitting of personal natural wonders. Making music became a parallel activity, parallel and braided with the push-me-pull-you of choice+fate. I needed to make the songs, but I needed to be in such a way that justified the songs, as best as possible. O dear, this isn’t going very well. In real life? Stop, breathe, do, sleep, shit, attack, fall, swim, hug, cum, spend, smell, save, read, form, listen, play video games and deny fake boobs.
Will Oldham 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 lent his his trademark croon to the Italian band Numero6. Better still, he sings in Italian. I have no idea why, how, or where this song was recorded. I’m guessing Italy, but who can tell in this flat world of ours. I do know, however, that it’s always a sonic blessing to hear new material from Mr. Billy.
More dates after the jump!
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.
I’ve just received word that Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy aka Will Oldham is going to be releasing Lie Down in the Light this May. It’s his first set of originals since 2006′s The Letting Go. I’m really curious to see what direction he takes with this new album – if there’s one thing we can be sure of, it’s that it will be frank, honest, and above all sincere.
This is old news, but if anyone out there wants to put the proverbial wooden spoon in their mouth to prevent themselves from collapsing with a B’P'B induced anticipatory panic attack, get your hands on his film Old Joy. It’s a stark character study that delves deeply into the nature of friendship, aging, and sexuality – in a way, I’d view Old Joy as a companion piece to Oldham’s sublime Master & Everyone.
Also, I’ve added a new demo version of the song “So Everyone” which will (in a more polished form, I suppose) be on the upcoming album
[download] “So Everyone” (demo)
[photo © Steve Gullick]
Mike McGonigal, founder of Yeti Magazine, says that “healthy confusion is always the goal.” In a universe with no answers and a lot of questions, I’d have to say I agree with Mr. McGonigal. In the fifth edition of Yeti Magazine, dropping March 7, Yeti serves up another intoxicating blend of visual art, music, and interviews with some of the most innovative artists around the world. Each edition of the magazine comes with a mix CD that often features unreleased cuts and rare b-sides (past mixes have featured Oh Me Oh My… era demos from D-Ban himself)