photos by Sachyn Mital
Bonnie "Prince" Billy @ The Allen Room, 2/7/2013
As you prepare to perform in the "American Songbook" series, what does the notion of the "American songbook" mean to you?Is there a more spectacular NYC locale for a show than The Allen Room in Lincoln Center? Only falling snow could have made a better postcard last night (2/7) when Bonnie "Prince" Billy (aka Will Oldham) played as part of the 2013 American Songbook Series. Will played mainly alone, with a few covers thrown in amongst his originals, but was joined by collaborators Matt Sweeney on guitar and Ryan McNair on melodica for a few songs. It was a conversational evening in general, with Oldham stopping in the middle of songs to tell a story -- like one of him meeting Connie Britton (aka Tami Taylor on Friday Night Lights) at a party, and pulled out a picture with her as evidence -- and even led the crowd in a group singalong.
I would like to think that certain songs find relationships with other songs in the ear of the listener. I think it means that there's a group of songs that people know or are familiar with outside the context of any particular artist that become ingrained in people's perception of their culture.
Is there something particularly "American" about it?
To some extent, the reception of all the songs we've gotten a chance to hear over our lives and the lives of people throughout the history of recorded music are commercially recorded releases. So the "American songbook" is characterized by the American music business and how that business has been run over the last 100 years. Of course, the music business reacts to our hybrid culture. I don't think the United States is unique in that its popular music reflects a common denominator of a diverse population. But our diverse population, of course, is uniquely ours. - [WSJ]
Check out more pictures and the evening's setlist from The Allen Room below...
SETLIST: Bonnie "Prince" Billy @ The Allen Room, 2/7/2012
Bed Is for Sleeping Co‐written with Matt Sweeney
Little Boy Blue Music and lyrics by Bobby "Blue" Bland
Gone Girl Music and lyrics by Cowboy Jack Clement
May It Always Be
Lift Us Up Co‐written with Matt Sweeney
I Called You Back
Get on Jolly 1/New Partner
A Minor Place
Quail and Dumplings
Ninety Miles an Hour (Down a Dead End Street) Music and lyrics by Hal Blair and Don Robertson
The Banks of Red Roses Traditional
Time to Be Clear
The Brute Choir
Death to Everyone
Just Little Boy Blue Music and lyrics by Jimmie Fox
How About Thank You
The Risen Lord Text by D.H. Lawrence
Love Comes to Me
You Will Miss Me When I Burn Co‐written with Brian Rich