Oldham in 2009
|Birth name||Will Oldham|
|Also known as||Palace Flophouse|
Bonnie "Prince" Billy
|Born||January 15, 1970|
Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.
|Labels||Drag City, Domino, Spunk|
|Associated acts||Dawn McCarthy, Boxhead Ensemble, The Cairo Gang, Mekons, Matt Sweeney, Mick Turner, Tortoise, Trembling Bells, Harem Scarem, The Picket Line, Alex Neilson, Björk, Slint, Silver Jews, Joan Shelley|
Joseph Will Oldham (born January 15, 1970), is an American singer-songwriter and actor. From 1993 to 1997, he performed and recorded in collaboration with dozens of other musicians under variations of Palace (Palace, Palace Flophouse, Palace Brothers, Palace Songs, and Palace Music). After briefly publishing music under his own name, in 1998 he adopted Bonnie "Prince" Billy as the name for most of his work.
Oldham was born on January 15, 1970, in Louisville, Kentucky.His mother, Joanne Lei Will Tafel Oldham, was a teacher and artist. His father, Joseph Collins Oldham, was an attorney and photographer. Oldham graduated from the J. Graham Brown School in 1988. He attended Brown University sporadically while pursuing a career as an actor, and living between Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and Southern Indiana. He began making music during this time, initially as a project for his professor Jeff Todd Titon, an ethnomusicologist at Brown University.
Oldham is known for his "do-it-yourself punk aesthetic and blunt honesty,"and his music has been likened to Americana, folk, roots, country, punk, and indie rock. He has been called an "Appalachian post-punk solipsist", with a voice that has been described as "a fragile sort-of warble frittering around haunted melodies in the American folk or country tradition."
Oldham first performed and recorded under various permutations of the Palace name, including Palace Brothers, Palace Songs, Palace Music, and simply Palace. Regarding the name changes during this period (1993–1997), Oldham said:
Well, I guess the idea is that when you have a name of a group or an artist, then you expect that the next record, if it has the same name, should be the same group of people playing on it. And I just thought we were making a different kind of record each time, with different people, and different themes, and different sounds. So I thought it was important to call it something different so that people would be aware of the differences.
Will stated in a 1995 interview with KCRW that the name Palace Flophouse was inspired by reading John Steinbeck's Cannery Row . Beginning in 1998, Oldham has primarily used the moniker Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, which draws inspiration from several sources:
Yeah, the name has so many different references that it could almost have a life of its own. Bonnie Prince Charlie has such a beautiful ring to it, and I was very conscious of appropriating that mellifluous sound. And I was also thinking about the name Nat King Cole. But it wasn't until later, and this may have been subconscious, that I remembered that Billy the Kid was William Bonney or Billy Bonney.
He has explained that "the primary purpose of the pseudonym is to allow both the audience and the performer to have a relationship with the performer that is valid and unbreakable."
Some of his albums, such as There Is No-One What Will Take Care of You (1993),Viva Last Blues (1995), and I See a Darkness (1999), have appeared on greatest albums lists.
Johnny Cash recorded a version of "I See a Darkness" on his American Recordings disc, American III: Solitary Man (2000). Oldham provided backing vocals. Marianne Faithfull included Oldham's "A King at Night" on her 2003 Kissin Time tour. Steve Adey also covered "I See a Darkness" on his 2006 LP All Things Real . Mark Kozelek recorded a version of Oldham's "New Partner" on his 2008 disc, The Finally LP . Katatonia covered "Oh How I Enjoy the Light" on their 2001 EP Tonight's Music . In 2009 Mark Lanegan and Soulsavers recorded a cover version of "You Will Miss Me When I Burn". The release is a split single, backed with the Lanegan penned "Sunrise" featuring vocals by Oldham. In 2011, Deer Tick's cover of Oldham's song "Death to Everyone" appeared in an episode of Hell On Wheels . Cadaverous Condition covered "Black" on their to the Night Sky album (2006).
Oldham first film acting role was as the teen preacher in John Sayles's film Matewan (released 1987), a dramatization of the life of Appalachian mining community in the 1920s and the Battle of Matewan. Following this, he moved to Hollywood to pursue a career as an actor.He played the role of Chip McClure in Everybody's Baby: The Rescue of Jessica McClure (released 1989), and the role of Miles in the film Thousand Pieces of Gold (released 1991).
Oldham played minor roles in Julien Donkey-Boy (1999), Junebug (2005), and The Guatemalan Handshake (2006).
In 2004, Oldham appeared as himself in the short documentary film "Tripping With Caveh", by Caveh Zahedi.
Oldham played a lead role as Kurt in Kelly Reichardt's film Old Joy (released 2006). He was Pastor Pigmeat in the "Horse Apples" special, episode 207, of WonderShowzen. In 2007, he starred alongside Zach Galifianakis in a music video for Kanye West's "Can't Tell Me Nothing".
In 2009, Oldham narrated "Madam and Little Boy", a documentary film about atomic weapons, directed by Swedish artist Magnus Bärtås.
In 2010, Oldham narrated Music Makes a City, a documentary about the formation of the Louisville Orchestra, directed by Owsley Brown III and Jerome Hiler.Also in 2010, Oldham appeared in Jackass 3D as a gorilla trainer. As part of an agreement to play that role, he wrote a theme song, in the style of a Saturday morning cartoon show, for filmmaker Lance Bangs.
Oldham also provided voice work and inspiration for the character "Will" in the video game Kentucky Route Zero
Oldham shot the black-and-white cover photograph of Slint's 1991 album Spiderland , showing the band members treading water in the lake of an abandoned quarry.
Oldham also featured as guest aesthetic designer for the North American literary magazine Zoetrope All Story (vol 11, no 1) in 2007. In a note contained in the issue, he jokes that it would be "really magnificent to imagine this issue as a cocktail party at which all of the contributors, word and image, are present. add a bowl of keys and some mushroom cookies and i am there."[ citation needed ]
|1985||What Comes Around||Young Tom Hawkins|
|1990||Thousand Pieces of Gold||Miles|
|2005||Junebug||Bill Mooney, scout|
|2006||The Guatemalan Handshake||Donald Turnupseed|
|2008||Wendy and Lucy||Icky|
|2011||New Jerusalem||Ike Evans|
|2017||A Ghost Story||Prognosticator|
|2021||Hands that Bind||Barkeep|
|1989||Everybody's Baby: The Rescue of Jessica McClure||Chip Mcclure||Television film|
|2006||Wonder Showzen||Pastor Pigmeat||Episode: "Horse Apples"|
|2007||Trapped in the Closet Chapters 13–22||Sgt. Platoon||Video|
|2008||Xavier: Renegade Angel||Reverend||Episode: "Signs from Godrilla"|
|2018||Animals||Father Ferret||Episode: "At a Loss for Words When We Needed Them Most or... |
The Rise and Fall of GrabBagVille"
|2020||The Midnight Gospel||Bubble Max||Episode: "Vulture With Honor"|
He married the textile artist Elsa Hansen Oldham in 2016.They had a child together in 2018.
Slint was an American rock band consisting of Brian McMahan, David Pajo (guitar), Britt Walford, Todd Brashear, and Ethan Buckler. They formed in Louisville, Kentucky, United States, in 1986. Slint's first album Tweez was recorded by engineer Steve Albini in 1987 and released in obscurity on the Jennifer Hartman Records label in 1989. It was followed two years later by the critically acclaimed Spiderland, released on the independent label Touch and Go Records.
Mark William Lanegan is an American singer, songwriter, and musician. He is known for his baritone voice, which has been described as being "as scratchy as a three-day beard yet as supple and pliable as moccasin leather" and has been compared to Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits.
Spiderland is the second and final studio album by the American rock band Slint. Comprising six songs across approximately 40 minutes, it was released by Touch and Go Records on March 27, 1991. Slint's then lineup featured Brian McMahan on vocals and guitar, David Pajo on guitar, Todd Brashear on bass guitar, and Britt Walford on drums. Brian Paulson was hired to engineer the album.
I See a Darkness is the sixth album by American musician Will Oldham, released on Palace Records on January 19, 1999 as the first album under the name Bonnie "Prince" Billy. The album features appearances from Bob Arellano, Colin Gagon, Paul Oldham, David Pajo, and Peter Townsend.
Matt Sweeney is an American guitarist, vocalist, and producer best known known as a guitarist of Skunk, Chavez, and supergroup Zwan.
David Pajo is an American alternative rock musician. He has played a wide variety of music, loosely fitting into several other genres such as hardcore punk, math rock, post-rock, electronica, folk rock and indie pop. Though a multi-instrumentalist, he is best known for his guitar work.
Bonnie 'Prince' Billy Sings Greatest Palace Music is a 2004 studio album by Bonnie 'Prince' Billy. It features new recordings of songs from his Palace Music era (1993–1997), recorded in Nashville, Tennessee with a large group of country session musicians. Guest musicians include Eddie Bayers, Stuart Duncan, Mark Fain, Mike Johnson, Hargus "Pig" Robbins, Andrew Bird and Bruce Watkins.
Master and Everyone is a 2003 studio album by Bonnie 'Prince' Billy. It was released on Drag City.
Chavez is an American math rock band from New York City, formed in 1993. After a period of inactivity, the band re-formed in 2006. They released two independent non-charting albums in the mid-1990s. Guitarist Matt Sweeney has confirmed that the band is working on its first new recordings since 1996.
Ease Down the Road is the seventh studio album by American musician Will Oldham, and the second under his moniker Bonnie 'Prince' Billy. It was released on Palace Records on March 19, 2001.
This is a list of recordings by Will Oldham.
The Letting Go is a 2006 studio album by Bonnie "Prince" Billy. It was released on Drag City.
Joya is the fifth studio album by American musician Will Oldham. It was released on Drag City in 1997 as the first album billed to his name, rather than the Palace or Bonnie "Prince" Billy monikers. It also features Bob Arellano, Colin Gagon, and David Pajo.
Among The Gold is a six-track-EP by Will Oldham and Cheyenne Marie Mize of the band Arnett Hollow. It features the duo's renditions of six classic American parlor songs which were originally written between 1864 and 1915. Mize plays the instruments while Oldham provides vocals.
Broken is the third full-length studio album by British electronic music production duo Soulsavers, and their second album predominantly featuring Mark Lanegan as lead vocalist. The album was released by V2 and Cooperative Music in the UK on 17 August 2009, and released by Columbia Records in the US in September 2009 as a digital download.
Peter Townsend is an American drummer from Louisville, Kentucky now living in Nashville, Tennessee. He has recorded and performed with Will Oldham in the bands Palace, Superwolf and Bonnie "Prince" Billy. He has also been featured on recordings and tours with King Kong, Nathan Bell, Human Bell, Nicolai Dunger, David Pajo, Brightblack Morning Light and many others.
The Phantom Family Halo is an American indie rock band from Louisville in Kentucky notable for music described as having a "post-metal state of ungodly loudness" while managing to achieve a "neat creepy B-movie horror feel." The six-member band, currently based in Brooklyn, has performed with bands such as Black Angels, Black Mountain, Dead Meadow, USAisamonster, Hawkwind, Slint, Damo Suzuki, Acid Mothers Guru Guru, Stormtrippers, Russian Circles, Young Widows, Sapat, The For Carnation, and Bonnie "Prince" Billy. The band signed a recording contract with Knitting Factory Records in 2011.
Wolfroy Goes to Town is a studio album by Will Oldham. It was released under the name Bonnie "Prince" Billy on Drag City in 2011.
Emmett Kelly is an American singer, songwriter and guitarist from Van Nuys, California. He is the primary songwriter and recording artist of The Cairo Gang, one half of The Double alongside drummer Jim White, one third of The CIA and a founding member of Clinamen. He has contributed vocal and instrumental work to a variety of international musical projects, appearing on recordings by the likes of Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Ty Segall, Angel Olsen, Azita, Joan of Arc, Edith Frost, Women and Children, John Webster Johns, Jeff Harms, Chicago poet/singer Marvin Tate, Matteah Baim, Japanese musician Takuma Watanabe, Earth Girl Helen Brown, Joshua Abrams and Rob Mazurek. Kelly has toured in several of the aforementioned acts in addition to with Baby Dee, CFM, Mikal Cronin, Sonny Smith, Beth Orton, and Terry Reid; and in other instances, performed live with Chan Marshall, Scott Tuma, Joan of Arc, and Pillars and Tongues. He is also one half of the band The Surf, The Sundried, and a founding member of Chicago's Psychojail.
I Made a Place is a 2019 album by Bonnie "Prince" Billy, the stage name of American indie folk musician Will Oldham. It was released to positive critical reception.
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