Will Oldham / Palace Brothers / Bonnie 'Prince' Billy
For some reason, since buying the Bonnie 'Prince' album (I See a Darkness), I have associated Will Oldham (that's the Bonnie Prince's real name) with the photographer Minor White, possibly one of the most spiritual artists of the medium, and it's this quote of White's that keeps popping into my head: "When the photograph is a mirror of the man, and the man is a mirror of the world, then Spirit might take over." This album is a bit lusher musically than what I've heard of Oldham's previous work (mostly under the Palace moniker), which often gets quite rustic - sometimes quite close to Appalachian folk, with an almost Biblical weightiness at times. Not that the subject matter of 'Darkness' is light by any means - most of the songs are about death, dread, and evil of one form or another, but it's the way Oldham goes about it - in such a quietly spiritual fashion - that I find absolutely captivating. Live, Oldham and the rotating cast of characters in his backing band often radically rework some of their songs in quite unexpected but wonderful ways. Despite the reflective nature of his albums (continued on "Ease down the road" and "Master and Everyone"), his live show lately is steeped in southern rock - almost a Skynyrd bent - but that could change in an instant. I guess people are starting to notice the Bonnie Prince - Johnny Cash covered the song 'I See a Darkness' for his album "American III: Solitary Man".
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