Will Oldham emerged from the Louisville hardcore punk scene and has strong connections with the early post-rock movement (Oldham photographed the album cover for Slint’s seminal album Spiderland ).
He released his first solo recordings under various monikers revolving around the ‘Palace’ theme. Days in the Wake (1994), his second Palace Brothers album, featured stark folk songs, deeply rooted in Americana. This album marked the beginning of his tortuous relationship with roots music, usually applying his trademark DIY approach.
Oldham was already a noted figure in the indie world when he released I See a Darkness (1999), his first as Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy. The songs are dark and intimate, the arrangements restricted to the bare minimum while Oldham wails with a sarcastic joy inherited from post-punk.
I See a Darkness remains Oldham’s greatest contribution to ‘New Weird America’. Oldham has continued recording and performing, with more than 20 releases under his belt. Recently, he has moved towards a more contemporary polished folk sound, while still maintaing a punk attitude in his songwriting.