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Bonnie “Prince” Billy / London Sacred Harp (live at the Union Chapel)

London 27 July 2017

Bonnie Prince Billy live July 2017Growing up in North Carolina with a fair amount of Baptist and other mountain church influence, I have been no stranger to shape note, or square hymn singing. It’s a strange old thing which the London Sacred Harp group has perfected for the here and now.

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Bonnie “Prince” Billy and Bitchin’ Bajas (live at Café OTO)

London 24 March 2016

Bonnie "Prince" Billy and Bitchin' Bajas (liveI think about what Bonnie “Prince” Billy has been to me the last few years since I began listening to him. I was late to the party, obviously, but caught up very fast and developed my obsession in earnest.

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Bonnie “Prince” Billy – Pond Scum

Drag City (Americas) / Domino (Europe)

Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Pond Scum“My job is just to sit here and sing these songs that have no purpose.”

And yet Will Oldham, aka Bonnie “Prince” Billy, aka Palace Brothers, aka Palace Music, has been singing these songs for more than two decades, and whether his purpose is found still remains only in the hearing of the listener.

Oldham’s back catalogue is an intimidating place to navigate. With an extreme work ethic and a prolific output to match, it can be difficult to truly know everything he has done. I have listened to more of his albums and collaborations than those of any single artist and still have only heard about a quarter of what I know is out

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The Lonely Life / ((SOUNDER)) – The Howlingest Call

Monofonus Press

The Lonely LifeThe Lonely Life is a 27-minute film written and directed by Mike Aho and starring Will Oldham, the erstwhile acting persona of the musical genius also known as Bonnie “Prince” Billy. The film was crowdfunded using Kickstarter in 2012 and filmed just outside Austin, Texas.

Billed as “A low-fi sci-fi psychedelic journey of a man trying to understand his past,” The Lonely Life contains animations by artists Travis Millard, Mel Kadel, Jeremy Fish, Michael Sieben and the Okay Mountain Collective and was made on a shoestring budget of $9,305.

It is a delightful visual spectacle from the outset, filmed on hand-held cameras and utilising the exceptional natural light of the region, creating a dreamy delicacy that offers a pleasingly jarring contrast against the themes of the story. The film

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Bonnie “Prince” Billy – Singer’s Grave A Sea Of Tongues

Drag City (North America)/Domino (Europe)

Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Singer's Grave A Sea Of TonguesWill Oldham has never shied away from revisiting the past. He updated the indie primitivist early work of Palace Brothers (and name variations thereof) from before he took on the Bonnie “Prince” Billy identity with a collection of veteran country session musicians on Sings Golden Palace Music (2004) to excellent effect. The album gave a polish and shine to songs which were only improved by the addition of high production values — which thankfully didn’t reduce Oldham’s off-kilter strangeness one jot in the process.

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Bonnie “Prince” Billy (live at Rockstore)

Rockstore, Montpellier 19 October 2011

In the great parade of dark-suited, wild-whiskered and drink-crazed (allegedly) rock’n’roll frontmen with a penchant for country tunes and Southern gentlemanly manners, in whose songs God breathes hellfire as often as not even existing, relationships rarely tread an easy path and death is a constant companion, one performer stands head and shoulders at the forefront – Mr William Oldham, of Louisville, Kentucky.

In his Bonnie “Prince” Billy guise (is it a band, is it Olham indulging delusions of regality?) he fronts the stage with a certain dashing presence, an occasionally avuncular figure whose suit is sharp but with a casual elegance, and whose gestures are more than a little eccentric and hint at a more rock’n’roll past whose onstage antics have reduced with maturity. There is still something

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