Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sunday Music: Bonnie 'Prince' Billy

Otherwise known as Will Oldham, this protean singer/songwriter/actor falls short of Kris Kristofferson only in helicopter-piloting experience. Oldham and Kristofferson even share the honor of having Johnny Cash record one of their songs. Will Oldham's earliest passion was acting. As a teenager from Louisville, Kentucky, he landed a part in John Sayle's film Matewan. He has continued acting in movies and television, albeit sporadically. Oldham's career as a singer/songwriter is more difficult to summarize. I have to admit not really giving him a listen until his most recent musical persona "BPB," as his fans abbreviate it. His compositions are firmly rooted in country and Appalachian folk tradition, but lyrics and arrangements can be quite trippy. The video above, for "Cursed Sleep," starts with Oldham dressed up as a giant pantomine falcon--yes, the bird. Harmless enough, but please give it one more listen with your eyes closed. It is a beautiful and affecting work.

Will Oldham (Wikipedia) [Link]

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