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    Wednesday, September 20, 2006

    Today I started celebrating again: Bonnie "Prince" Billy MP3s

    In my fantasy life, I would be as prolific as Will Oldham. Every year would promise a new offering, a new grace note to shade my already deep and rich body of work. And somehow, in this hypothetical realm, I’d always keep at the top of my game, whether I was plumbing the dark waters of the Styx or the dappled shores of West Palm Beach. Until that happens, I’ll continue to be amazed by Oldham in the meantime.

    Because as sure as autumn’s onset, Oldham has returned to us again. Maintaining his annual output, The Letting Go is yet another impressive addition to his canon. And Oldham, recording under his Bonnie “Prince” Billy alias, is as solid as ever. His weighed down voice still ebbs and collapses. His songs are still suffused with longing and gravity, making even boring lines like “Every time we kiss/ We find ourselves in love again” feel slightly shattering. His lyrics are still mostly spare and mysterious.

    There are a few new elements to distinguish The Letting Go though. First, there’s the fullness and sweep of “Cursed Sleep,” probably his best single to date. There’s the constant presence of Faun Fables’ Dawn McCarthy, whose voice is as vivid and haunting as a ghost-ship shanty. There’s also a little more rock and blues informing the folk and country, to give “The Seedling” an added swagger and “Cold and Wet” a touch of juke-joint traditionalism. But Oldham is still Oldham, and there’s no mistaking this for the work of anyone else. His stamp on the songs is as assured as his inevitably welcome return next year.

    * MP3: "The Seedling" - Bonnie "Prince" Billy from The Letting Go
    * MP3: "Cold and Wet" - Bonnie "Prince" Billy from The Letting Go [Buy it]
    * Artist Website: Bonnie "Prince" Billy

    Also, be sure to
    check out his recent Daytrotter session, featuring new performances of "The Seedling," "New Partner," "Goodbye Dear Old Stepstone," "The Sun Highlights The Lack in Each"

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