bonnie ‘prince’ billy – self titled

i got screwed by the ones who put me in your path
“now it’s just you and me”, I whisper, and you laugh
half hearts, full mouths, i see you go on
and i go too, but not with you, i go with me

some music arrives in existence when it makes the most sense. any earlier and the point would have been missed; any later and it wouldn’t mean half of what it does.

this album has the enduring quality of all the best will oldham songs. in part it’s because they are purely acoustic, which is when i think he shines. but it’s their character more than their technical construction that gives them life. most of these are short and sweet, or sour, or bruising, or erotic. and yet deliverance is realised in all of them. the darkness is not endless; not forever; not definitive.

it has been many years that i have analysed and wrought the experiences i’ve had. in love, or the versions i’ve had that approximated it. in self-doubt and anxiety. in sorrow. in contentment. age definitely wearies, but what clarity it brings. these songs absorb every one of those emotions, and tell the stories back in rose-coloured replay, so they don’t hurt anymore. but they have currency as well. they embrace complexity, uncertainty and all the shit in a way that reconciles reality with desire, and a little bit of jade.

the amazing reality of this being here is that its original run was largely hand-delivered by will himself to record stores within a relatively small radius of his home, in louisville. there was never a guarantee it would travel any further than that. while i will remember what took me there, what i experienced, and what i lost, forever, i will never regret walking into the store on frankfort ave on that stinking hot late-summer day and putting this under my arm.

hope must be held out, but its object should not be made so crucial or unrealistic that life can’t keep thriving.


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