Fantastic Audiophile Angst: Bonnie Prince Billy
Nov 25, 2008 at 9:05 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 2


Headphoneus Supremus
Aug 2, 2001
Gee, i was really surprised to find there are no threads dedicated to Bonnie Prince Billy. I discovered him just a few months ago and I began worshipping his pared-down audiophile recordings and beautiful angst-driven songs. I think his recordings are an example of my favorite kind of rock/pop recordings (though I think he's classified as Alt-Country), where you can "feel" the recording studio and the living presence of the artists. His albums are recorded much in the fashion of my highly-respected Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' "The Boatman's Call" album, recorded at Abbey Road. That recording just exudes a living presence (I can't believe some knucklehead here said "The Boatman's Call" "...isn't a very good recording," jeez.) These recording aren't so absolutely live sounding within a setting as, say, The Cowboy Junkies' "The Trinity Sessions," but they still have that wonderful palpable presence of a good jazz recording. I'm referring to Bonnie Prince Billy's classic album " I See a Darkness" -- an absolutely moody masterpiece. (Johnny Cash recorded a version of "I See a Darkness" on "American III: Solitary Man."), and his album "Ease Down the Road." I find both to be equally brilliant recordings, though I prefer "I See a Darkness" as an album. Are there any other fans here?
Nov 25, 2008 at 2:06 PM Post #2 of 2


New Head-Fier
Feb 15, 2007
Yep, I'm a fairly long time Bonnie Prince Billy / Will Oldham / Palace Music fan. I've always found his albums to have the same sound you describe... you really feel like the stuck one nice microphone in the room and had everyone gather round it. Love that stuff. I found this quote from his wikipedia entry particularly interesting:


He doesn't rehearse. ... He chooses the people he's going to play with shortly before the session, so everyone is playing by the seat of their pants, and the music is at constant risk, subject to the weaknesses of whoever's in the room. But he gets absolutely spontaneous moments of greatness you couldn't rehearse.

Also, in a kinda similar vain, at least in recording style, is just about anything that David Rawlings produces. This is especially evident in any of the Gillian Welch albums (see "Time: The Revelator" for the best example), or the first Ryan Adams solo record, "Heartbreaker."

Thanks for reminding me of BPB. Now I'm off to start the day with headphones at the work computer and a long BPB playlist!

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