81. Bonnie Prince Billy – “I See A Darkness”

This is the first of many works here by Will Oldham (most will be in the P section in around 2011).

bonnie-prince-billy-i-see-a-darkness-album-coverI first spied Mr.Oldham at a gig at the Corner Hotel on Feb 17, 1997 (I looked that up here).  I went along on the recommendation of a mate, having never heard his work.  I was blown away by the uniqueness of his voice, the intensity of his lyrics, as was seemingly everyone in the room.  I have never heard a crowd at said venue remain so hushed.  I soon became the owner of many of his albums, and have bought new stuff from him on and off over the years.

I have seen him live again, but the magic has never been the same.  His albums are equally hit and miss, especially the later ones. This one is very strong however.  It evokes the tender and precarious dimensions that captured me that night.  His voice is just as reedy and Appalachian as on much of his work.  The lyrics are brutal and mesmerising, especially on the title track, which Johnny Cash would go on to cover.

It’s not all beer and skittles.  I really have to be in the mood, otherwise his uncompromising style can be grating.

File under: I see bearded people

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