Bonnie “Prince” Billy – The Letting Go

Bonnie Prince BillyBonnie “Prince” Billy (aka Will Oldham) has always seemed to just go on his own path. He was part of underground heroes “Palace”, who released two beloved albums in the mid-90’s. Will then went solo under his own name, recording a few albums before 1999’s I See A Darkness became a critical smash. From then, the Bonnie “Prince” Billy moniker became a fixture and he’s been fairly prolific, releasing an album almost every year. His style of stripped down folk has never really changed, but The Letting Go does have something different about it. Recorded in Iceland with a string section, the songs on this album are bolstered with a greater sonic weight.

With co-vocalist Dawn McCarthy aiding him, this is one of the more well rounded albums that Will has recorded. From the rather jaunty blues of “Cold & Wet” to the beat-driven “Lay And Low”. This is a delicately crafted record: just because they had a string section doesn’t mean that there’s layers of orchestration of each song. It’s all defiantly minimal, meaning the focus is on the Will’s cryptic lyrics and gentle voice. A track like “Wai” just glides past with an easy melody.

My favourite is “Strange Form Of Life”, one of the few guitars to feature and electric guitar. The vocals are beautiful and the song just soars towards the end. “Lay And Love” also has some dreamy vocal interchanges between Will and Dawn. The Letting Go is a fragile and gentle thing: it’s been perfectly produced to give it a sense of warmth in the guitars and vocals. It never sounds sparse or bleak at any point. This is going to be a great album for a lazy Sunday morning.

Bonnie “Prince” Billy – Cursed Sleep


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