Friday, January 2, 2009

Will Oldham, Bonnie "Prince" Billy

Will Oldham photographed in Philadelphia at The First Unitarian Church

From this week's New Yorker:

Will Oldham Transfigures American Music. By Kallefeh Sanneh

...Will Oldham was born in 1970, the second of three boys; Joanne was a full-time mother, and his father, Joe, who died in 2006, was a lawyer and an amateur photographer. By the early nineteen-eighties, Oldham was getting musical tips from his older brother, Ned, who was immersed in Louisville’s fertile punk-rock scene, and he soon developed his own adventurous listening habits—he struck up a correspondence with the noisemaker and poet Lydia Lunch, after meeting her at a Sonic Youth show during a trip to New York. (He also remembers sending a “fairly elaborate” package, including a collage, to Glenn Danzig, the former leader of the horror-punk band the Misfits; he says that Danzig, in turn, sent him a package that included a rare copy of “Cough/Cool,” the band’s 1977 d├ębut single.)

Despite his strong and particular musical tastes, Oldham was taken with acting—or, more accurately, he was taken with the idea of getting into character. He studied at the Walden Theatre, appeared onstage at Louisville’s acclaimed Actors Theatre, and auditioned for a role in “Matewan,” John Sayles’s film about a coal strike in the nineteen-twenties. He got the part of Danny, a prophetic boy preacher, which meant two months away from high school, living with actors (including Chris Cooper and James Earl Jones), the crew, and a tutor in West Virginia, and earning twelve hundred and fifty dollars a week, plus a per diem. When he got back to Louisville, he couldn’t figure out what to do next; with some nudging from his parents, he finished high school and applied to Brown. He lasted one semester before dropping out; he moved to Los Angeles, then to New York, tried Brown again, and finally left for good. MORE

Will Oldham "Horses"

This "Horses" was originally written and performed by Sally Timms - from the British punk/post-punk outfit the Mekons - on her 1988 solo album Somebody's Rockin' My Dreamboat. The Oldham version originally appeared on the Drag City Horses 7" single in 1994 and later that year on the Domino-released An Arrow Through the Bitch EP. It would appear again on the 1997 Drag City collection Palace Music: Lost Blues and Other Songs (1993-97)


1 comment:

Jon said...

Everybody needs an angel.