Bonnie “Prince” Billy has released a new video for “New Rich Black (Tusks),” from his latest album Singer’s Grave a Sea of Tongues.
Bonnie “Prince” Billy, AKA Will Oldham, has released a new video for song “New Black Rich (Tusks),” off of his latest album Singer’s Grave a Sea of Tongues, which was released in September.
The video features Oldham wearing a ridiculously long beard adorned with walrus tusks. He wanders around an empty house dancing and dressed in a suit and a top hat, and he leaves to dance with a lounge singer in a bar. While the video is somewhat ridiculous, the song itself is hauntingly beautiful and features a gorgeous fiddle solo by Billy Contreras. The video was directed by Claudia Crobatia and was produced by Macha Rousakov.
The song starts slow and Oldham is just above a whisper, reminiscent of the beginning to Palace Brother’s song “New Partner.” Oldham croons, “If I should die before we meet/ I’ll have to say goodbye before we meet.”
Oldham, who has been steadily releasing music for the last twenty years, started as as an actor before he became a musician. In the 90s he released music under the “Palace” moniker, including Palace Brothers, Palace Songs, and Palace Music. In 1998, Oldham started releasing music under the moniker Bonnie “Prince” Billy.
With eighteen studio albums to his credit, Oldham’s albums There Is No-One That Will Take Care of You, Viva Last Blues, and I See a Darkness, have all made it on greatest albums lists.
Oldham is known for his DIY and anti-press attitude, opting not to promote his albums, and even releasing one of his albums, Arise Therefore, without a name to credit. Oldham told The Phoenix,
“Well, I guess the idea is that when you have a name of a group or an artist, then you expect that the next record, if it has the same name, should be the same group of people playing on it. And I just thought we were making a different kind of record each time, with different people, and different themes, and different sounds. So I thought it was important to call it something different so that people would be aware of the differences.”
Last year, Oldham released a self-titled album that was also self-produced, recorded, and distributed by himself, with Oldham physically distributing the album by hand to record stores. Although the music from Bonnie “Prince” Billy sounds folk or Americana, it doesn’t get anymore DIY with Will Oldham, who relates his music to punk more than anything.
According to Pitchfork, Will Oldham’s latest album as Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Singer’s Grave a Sea of Tongues, is mostly remade songs from previous albums. Nine of the eleven songs on the new album are from 2011’s Wolfroy Goes to Town, with “New Rich Black (Tusks)” and “Sailor’s Grave a Sea of Sheep” being the new material.
Oldham’s new video for “New Black Rich (Tusks)” offers a beautiful insight into Will Oldham’s newest phase as a musician.