Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy


Like the man himself, Bonnie “Prince” Billy’s new album is at once “foreboding and inviting,” said David Malitz in The Washington Post. Combining such extremes is a “trick” that Will Oldham, better known by his rakish country moniker, has “perfected over the years.” On his “Nashville-by-way-of-Laurel-Canyon” album, Oldham plays the part of a country outlaw who doesn’t love being a loner but doesn’t mind it, either. “I want to be your only friend,” the album’s first line pleads. Later, Oldham, in his dry, creaky croon, sings: “It’s kind of easy to have fun / When you don’t belong to anyone.” A sense of solitude permeates Beware, but it somehow sounds welcoming, said Noel Murray in The Onion. New, “fuller” arrangements warm Oldham’s stark songs and brooding lyrics with multi-tracked violins, bluegrass mandolin, and honky-tonk pedal-steel guitar. “My Life’s Work” moseys along until Oldham, backed by a choir, bursts into a rich, powerful refrain. Though the troubadour tends to stay out of the spotlight, here he offers a stirring glimpse “deep within his psyche.”