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“The New Yorker” on Bonnie “Prince” Billy

5 Jun 2014

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Photograph by Steve Gullick

If you (like us) are counting down the days until our July 12th Bonnie “Prince” Billy concert, then be sure to read this New Yorker article from 2009,
helpfully forwarded to us by friend of Ballroom and board of trustees member, Vance Knowles. Although Oldham is described as “a recluse and an enigma” who rarely offers interviews, Kalefa Sanneh was able to meet with Oldham in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky as he geared up for an Idyllic and pastoral outdoor concert.

An excerpt:

By way of rehearsal, Oldham and the band had spent the week giving brief, unannounced performances at local bars. On Thursday night, he had called up Joe’s Palm Room, a venerable and predominantly African-American establishment, and asked, “Do y’all have music tonight?”

The answer was no.

“Do you want some?”

No.

“So if we came down there with some instruments and played some music, would you like that?”

No.

“For free?”

Eventually, the staff had consented to let Oldham and his band play, or, at any rate, consented not to stop them from playing. A few fans managed to track him down, but many of the people in the audience had no idea that they were watching one of Louisville’s most celebrated residents, and Oldham seemed proud to have won over a few skeptics. His favorite review came from a regular patron who had been moved to shout, “Sing that shit!”

To continue reading, head over to The New Yorker.

Although online tickets for the concert are sold out, tickets are still available for purchase in the gallery. Additionally,