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Will Oldham Talks Death, Loss And Laughter Before Berkshire Bonnie “Prince” Billy Show

Rich Anderson
Will Oldham performing as Bonnie "Prince" Billy.

25 years ago, Will Oldham released his first record of plaintive, twangy Americana under the name “Palace Music.” After rotating through that title and a handful of other names, he settled on the alias Bonnie “Prince” Billy in 1998, and has spent the subsequent decades releasing dozens of studio albums, EPs, live records, and singles. Oldham frequently delves into the work of others, spending entire records exploring the songs of the Everly Brothers, Merle Haggard, and more. Before his appearance at MASS MoCA in North Adams Saturday, Oldham spoke with WAMC Berkshire Bureau Chief Josh Landes about the sea change in his sound between the devastating, stark 2006 album “The Letting Go” and 2008’s warmer “Lie Down In The Light."

Below the full, hour-long conversation with Oldham. He discusses his love of Frank Sinatra, how he listens to music at home, what it's like to live in the city he was raised in (Louisville, Kentucky), and much more. Oldham begins by talking about his live appearances to date in 2018.


Josh Landes has been WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief since February 2018, following stints at WBGO Newark and WFMU East Orange. A passionate advocate for Western Massachusetts, Landes was raised in Pittsfield and attended Hampshire College in Amherst, receiving his bachelor's in Ethnomusicology and Radio Production. His free time is spent with his cat Harry, experimental electronic music, and exploring the woods.