O U T S I D E L E F T   stay i n d e p e n d e n t

When You Fall In Love, It Will Be Forever

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy comes in, swinging his dick again, and like a lovesick dog, I always come running

get the weekly Outsideleft newsletter
by Alex V. Cook, Music Editor for outsideleft.com
originally published: September, 2006
So, reading all this, maybe I'm not over him yet.
by Alex V. Cook, Music Editor for outsideleft.com
originally published: September, 2006
So, reading all this, maybe I'm not over him yet.

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy
The Letting Go
(Drag City)

What do you say to someone to whom everything you have in your arsenal has been said? Someone that has been through each of your irritating facets and has managed to stay there, always there. Someone who has willfully accepted every morsel that you cooked up, and told you it tasted unique and pure, like the morsels of no other. You say nothing, except that what you were going to say anyway. You rattle out some of the same old stories, toss in a new angle for fun, maybe even bellow at them a little, but you can't really come at it with an agenda.

Like the true fan I am, I assume Will Oldham is talking directly to me through the intermediary of his albums, and we have been through it all, so we are just chatting. Almost like a post-breakup conversation, or that awkward recanting of what's-been-going-on-anyway. I'm not sure why all you other people like him so much, since he is clearly talking to me in these records. Its very nice of him to give you the time of day, though.

The Letting Go is exactly what I was planning on doing with this particular art crush after Summer in the Southeast. It was good run. But here he comes with yet another soft blow like Ease On Down the Road and while I won't say I'm hooked again, I'm listening. The stories and the styles he presents here have all been aired out before, but the inclusion of Faun Fables' Dawn McCarthy and a well-placed string section adds some spice to the meatloaf. Noteable at first glance is the sexy swoon of "Cursed Sleep" the first single of the album. Oldham keeps the whine in check on this one, making it a quietly overblown AM 70's Gold classic. The strings throughout the record make it. I think string sections usually kill a record, indicating that the artist had too much money to spend (see Cat Power's latest). "Cold & Wet" is a great country-rock-blues ballad, his runneth off the rails sense of tune counter-pointing perfectly with the plinky-planky-plank coffeehouse guitar funk. "Big Friday" is a dulcet finger-picking exercise with McCarthy doing her best Joni Mitchell backup vocals. "God's Small Song" intones like grandfather clock in a haunted house, with ghosts whining in rounds overhead.

Oldham has rightly been called a master of atmosphere first, and I think that is evident here. None of the songs strike me with their lyrics or melody alone, but their ambiance sucks you into the ball of snakes writhing at the heart of his songs. The final track "Ebb Tide" with its somnambulant guitar lines and shimmering cymbals contributed from members of the Dirty Three (who were also responsible for Oldham's most sublime moment, the Get on Jolly and Get the Fuck on Jolly Live albums) is the dream you have when this low-key dusk record has lulled you into the darkness.

So, reading all this, maybe I'm not over him yet.

see more stories from outsideleft's Music archive »»

Alex V. Cook
Music Editor

Alex V. Cook listens to everything and writes about most of it. His latest book, the snappily titled Louisiana Saturday Night: Looking for a Good Time in South Louisiana's Juke Joints, Honky-Tonks, and Dance Halls is an odyssey from the backwoods bars and small-town dives to the swampside dance halls and converted clapboard barns of a Louisiana Saturday Night. Don't leave Heathrow without it. His first book Darkness Racket and Twang is available from SideCartel. The full effect can be had at alex v cook.com

OUTSIDELEFT Night Out 2
 
best LPs of 2019 Bill Callahan... best LPs of 2019
  1. Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest - Bill Callahan
  2. Return to Me - Lilac Time
  3. 2020 - Richard Dawson
  4. Chalk Hill Blue - Will Burns & Hannah Peel
  5. All Mirrors - Angel Olsen
Sno Aalegra... best LPs of 2019
  1. Shlagenheim - black midi
  2. The Imperial - The Delines
  3. Old New - Tomeka Reid Quartet
  4. Ugh, Those Feels Again - Snoh Aalegra
  5. 5 - Sault
Esther Rose... best LPs of 2019
  1. You Made it this Far - Esther Rose
  2. Hiding Places - billy woods + Kenny Segal
  3. I Found a Place - Bonnie 'Prince' Billy
  4. Thanks for the Dance - Leonard Cohen
  5. Walk Through Fire - Yola
David Benjamin Blower... best LPs of 2019
  1. We Really Did This and We Really Existed - David Benjamin Blower
  2. The Reeling - Brighde Chaimbeul
  3. Eton Alive - Sleaford Mods
  4. Purple Mountains - Purple Mountains
  5. Biiri - Nihiloxica

more stories you really could read...


thumb through the ancient archives:

search for something you might like...


sign up for the outsideleft weekly. a selection of new and archived stories every week. Or less.

View previous campaigns.

NO WORDS NO PICTURES: a depreciation of David Bowie
Introducing John Waters
John Waters closes the Orange County Museum of Art
Tesco's Take Over
Tesco has a plan for Americans, happily for all, J. Charreaux is more than keen to go along with it
Thierry Barthole, Philippe Attie: Tandem absolue
13eme Salon annuel de L'ARC
Until The Heat Leaves
A very welcome, new, meditative piece from the exceptional Irish writer, Chris Connolly
The Elephant Man: Banksy in Los Angeles
Guerrilla artist Banksy lands his mothership down the block. Hipster shock troops heed the call-up and report in droves. Judging by the number of camera crews, this is one revolution that will be televised. Oh, and there was a live elephant to make it a real circus. (comment by whalt)
Some of our favorite things...