Music » Music Stories

Bonnie "Prince" Billy

Summer in the Southeast (Sea Note)

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Alt-country's answer to Frank Abagnale, Will Oldham has recorded under such pseudonyms as Palace Brothers, Pushkin and Superwolf. Although his work under these names has gravitated toward eleventh-hour Dust Bowl despair and acoustic minimalism, Oldham has spent much of the twenty-first century loitering as the warbling country-gent Bonnie "Prince" Billy. The changeling Prince is as laid-back as J.J. Cale or even Jimmy Buffett, and on Summer in the Southeast, Oldham seems lost in his own private Margaritaville — albeit one reimagined by Southern gothic writer Flannery O' Connor. Oldham's band plays wobbly, woolly, drunken-shout-along versions of chestnuts such as "Wolf Among Wolves" and "I See a Darkness." But it's when the band grows menacing, as it does on sinister versions of "A Sucker's Evening" and "Death to Everyone," that it unleashes the beast within.

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