Will Oldham on Bonnie "Prince" Billy by Will Oldham

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A captivating and revelatory glimpse into the life of one of the most critically acclaimed and enigmatic musicians working today.

The man who acts under the name Will Oldham and sings and composes under the name Bonnie “Prince” Billy has, over the past quarter-century, made an idiosyncratic journey through, and an indelible mark on, the worlds of indie rock and independent cinema. These conversations with longtime friend and associate Alan Licht probe his highly individualistic approach to music making and the music industry, one that cherishes intimacy, community, mystery, and spontaneity. Exploring Oldham’s travels and artistic influences while discussing his experiences with such disparate figures as Johnny Cash, Bjork, James Earl Jones, and R. Kelly, the book conveys the brilliance that has captivated fans and made Oldham one of our most influential and beloved songsmiths.

Oldham has declared this book his “last interview”—an essential guide to his life and career. Featuring a full discography, it offers the most in-depth look we may ever get of this fascinating cult figure.

About Will Oldham

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Will Oldham is a singer-songwriter and actor. He lives in Louisville, Kentucky. Alan Licht is a musician and author of the book Sound Art: Beyond Music Between Categories. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Published September 17, 2012 by W. W. Norton & Company. 400 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Will Oldham on Bonnie "Prince" Billy

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Licht usually begins a chapter by hovering over a loose theme (film music, music as communal effort, recorded music as opposed to live music, etc.);

Aug 01 2012 | Read Full Review of Will Oldham on Bonnie "Prince...


It’s a struggle he begrudgingly accepts at times, and dismisses at other times, much like his approach to making records: “Making records is commerce, and it’s about fooling yourself as a writer and a performer and fooling the audience into not thinking about it an accepting it.” And then, to dri...

Nov 01 2012 | Read Full Review of Will Oldham on Bonnie "Prince...

Austin Chronicle

A notoriously ornery interviewee, wry and skeptical, with a deadpan honesty that's difficult to gauge, Will Oldham boasts a career in both acting and music that seems a constant obfuscation of personality.

Sep 14 2012 | Read Full Review of Will Oldham on Bonnie "Prince...

Time Out New York

(“The only reason I want to be onstage is because that usually means that I will be making money that I can use to make records and live life and work with people,” he says.) The book amounts to an eloquent treatise on the art of saying no, a guide to leading a public life while retaining privacy...

Sep 12 2012 | Read Full Review of Will Oldham on Bonnie "Prince...

Full Stop

As the book proceeds he provides enough of an auto-commentary to keep the biographical thread during forays into topics that any fan would find interesting: “Do you find drugs useful, enjoyable, or both?” “How important are lyrics to you as a listener and as a singer?” “Have you had any interesti...

Dec 21 2012 | Read Full Review of Will Oldham on Bonnie "Prince...

The Paris Review

Anybody who’s a big music fan and plays music for people experiences this, but if you work with recorded music you can point to the differences in instrumentation or preparedness or arrangement.

Sep 24 2012 | Read Full Review of Will Oldham on Bonnie "Prince...

The Paris Review

this song is a bad song when I’m with my friend Jack.” ‘Cause someone could convince you, even by their presence, that it’s a great record, you know?

Sep 24 2012 | Read Full Review of Will Oldham on Bonnie "Prince...

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