Will Oldham has played under countless names and has been involved with several different projects—most recently the collaborative record of covers he did with Tortoise last year—but nothing has served him quite as well as his Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy moniker. “I See A Darkness,” his record from nearly a decade ago, still resonates as the best thing Oldham has put to tape—the title song itself is so devastatingly beautiful that it will live on forever, so much so that even Johnny Cash popularized it with his cover on “American III: Solitary Man.” The dreamy, dirty indie-folk Oldham specializes in excels as the songwriter becomes more structured, and “The Letting Go,” his record released just last month, proves that. Recorded entirely in Iceland and featuring ample strings and Dawn McCarthy’s striking back-up vocals, the album is Oldham’s most subdued to date, cold and windy, heartbreaking and sparse. (Tom Lynch)
Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy plays October 16 at Portage Park Theater, 4050 North Milwaukee, at 8pm. $15-$18.