That’s it for us this week dear reader. We leave you with another track from the made in heaven combination of Bill Callahan and Bonnie “Prince” Billy who have teamed up for another collaborative cover. Along with guitarist Bill MacKay, this time they’ve turned their talents to Steely Dan’s 1977 classic ‘Deacon Blues’ (they’re not covering the band Deacon Blue in case you speed-read the headline), a song Walter Becker called “a broken dream of a broken man living a broken life”. The video is directed by Michael Tully, and features a woman finding some money on the ground and necking Gatorade, before watching projections of Callahan and Billy on a house. All par for the course. Have a good one.
Bill Callahan, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, and Iranian-American experimental musician and labelmates AZITA have released a lovely cover of Yusuf / Cat Stevens’ track ‘Blackness of the Night’, originally taken from his sophomore 1967 album ‘New Masters’. Cat Stevens wrote that “‘Blackness of the Night’ was one of my first ‘protest’ songs for the ’60s… Growing up in London after the War, the memories were strong and bombed ruins still riddled the City. It also reflected the feeling of emptiness wandering the streets at night alone, pondering how to survive in a dark unknown future.”
If you were to find yourself cruising down Interstate-75 in the Renfro Valley area of Kentucky you may feel inclined to take a detour at exit 62 and head on down to the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame. A caveat at the current time would be that you may find some time to kill upon your arrival, as the said attraction will not reopen until September. That aside, within its hallowed walls are inductees aplenty including the likes of The Everly Brothers, Loretta Lynne, Bill Monroe, Merle Travis and Ricky Skaggs. Continue reading “Ten Americana artists from Kentucky”
The New York Times describes the new material from Cabane as: “An atmospheric wisp… with glimmers of Leonard Cohen and Serge Gainsbourg.” Perfect description. This song is taken from ‘Grand Est La Maison’, the new project from Cabane; their leader is the Belgian composer Thomas Jean Henri who explains: “I worked on ‘Take Me Home (Part 2)’ when I was writing music at the sea-side of Belgium. It is the foundation of the entire album. For the video, we wanted to shoot our loved ones listening to the song for the very first time to keep in memory of all the persons and family I love(d).” Henri has also created a short documentary, directed by Jérôme Guiot, in which he talks to friends and family about music and more. Check it out here.
We leave you this week dear reader on this blackest of Fridays with a treat worth much more than that 63 inch TV you don’t need, but you know – there’s a Carry On joke in there somewhere. Will Oldham aka Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy has a new album out and it’s as sublime as everything his majesty touches – ‘I Made a Place’ is the first album of new material under his Bonnie “Prince” Billy moniker for Drag City since 2011. It’s more, er, jaunty than you might expect from him too. Have a listen to the first track to be released from it below. Oh, and have a good one.
Pitchfork report today that our favourite royal americana star Will Oldam aka Bonnie “Prince” Billy will be publishing a book compiling his lyrics later this year. They report: “Songs of Love and Horror is out October 9 via W.W. Norton and Company. The collection will feature the lyrics to more than 200 songs spanning from the early 1980s to the present.” Here’s the cover of the book, along with the video for ‘I See a Darkness’ which if you’ve never seen it before will be the most entertaining 2 minutes and 41 seconds you spend doing something today. Continue reading “Will Oldham publishes book of his lyrics”
And it’s as oddly esoteric as you might imagine from his highness, amazing cover too. “The Pitch” reports: “Bonnie “Prince” Billy, aka Will Oldham, has announced a new album that covers Susanna’s 2007 LP Sonata Mix Dwarf Cosmos in its entirety. It’s called Wolf of the Cosmos, and it’s out November 17 via Drag City. He also shared a new music video for “People Living,” featuring footage from the Charlottesville riot. Check out the full tracklist and cover art below. Continue reading “Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy announces new album, new video – Watch”
Let’s face it, he’s probably still not going to beat Mel B’s version of “Word Up” in terms of classic covers but good on him for having a go. Rolling Stone reports: “Imagine arranging Merle Haggard’s millions of fans in concentric circles. In the outermost ring, place the casual listeners, the ones familiar with “Mama Tried,” some of the canonical 1960s material and maybe the hoopla around “Okie From Muskogee.” A slightly smaller – if still spacious – circle encompasses those who stuck with Haggard as long as country radio did; he scored his last Number One airplay hit as a solo artist in 1987. Next you enter into a circle of dedicated enthusiasts, the active listeners who have continued to hunt down and pore over Haggard’s LPs, and that’s where you’ll find Will Oldham, who records under the name Bonnie “Prince” Billy. Continue reading “Bonnie ‘Prince’ talks Merle Haggard”
This is pretty amazing from Pitchfork over the weekend. It beats Marc Métral and his talking dog Wendy. They report: “Bonnie “Prince” Billy, aka Will Oldham, gave morning television viewers in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky a taste of his forthcoming Merle Haggard tribute album, Best Troudabor. He appeared on local morning show “Great Day Live!” earlier this year to perform a cut that didn’t make the project’s final tracklist. And he wasn’t alone. Oldham brought along two dogs (Silver and Gold), who gamely sat beside him while he and his wife Elsa performed “Bad Actor.” That track appears on Haggard’s 2010 album, I Am What I Am. Best Troubador arrives May 5 via Drag City. In March, Oldham released a 360-degree VR video for the track, “Mama Tried.” Continue reading “Bonnie “Prince” Billy covers Merle Haggard with his dogs – Watch”
OK it’s not quite a bath, but it would have been an even better story if it was. Stereogum report: “Next month, Will Oldham will release Best Troubador, a Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy album made up of Merle Haggard covers. We heard his take on “Mama Tried” last month, and today he’s shared a video of him performing the late-period Haggard track “Bad Actor” in a steamroom. It’s not as steamy as you’d might expect given the locale, but Oldham is accompanied by his wife Elsa for the performance. Watch below.” Continue reading “Will Oldham covers Merle Haggard in a bath – Watch”