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Bonnie Prince Billy 

Summer in the Southeast (Sea Note)

Alt-country's answer to Frank Abagnale, Will Oldham has recorded under such pseudonyms as Palace Brothers, Pushkin, and Superwolf. Although his work under these names has gravitated toward 11th-hour Dust Bowl despair and acoustic minimalism, Oldham has spent much of the 21st century loitering as the warbling country-gent Bonnie "Prince" Billy.

The changeling Prince is as laid-back as J.J. Cale or even Jimmy Buffett, and on Summer in the Southeast, Oldham seems lost in his own private Margaritaville -- albeit one reimagined by southern gothic writer Flannery O'Connor. Oldham's band plays wobbly, woolly drunken shout-alongs of chestnuts such as "Wolf Among Wolves" and "I See a Darkness." But it's when the band grows menacing, as it does on sinister versions of "A Sucker's Evening" and "Death to Everyone," that it unleashes the beast within.

More by Andy Beta

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