Bonnie Prince Billy

Kentucky-born musician, actor and photographer Bonnie Prince Billy's landmark 2006 cover album The Brave and the Bold, with instrumental wizards Tortoise as the backing band, was seen by many as an epochal event in American rock music. It's fairly astonishing that Billy has put out four quality records since then, but what's just as astonishing is how serious he is about fighting music piracy. The version of his new full-length album that was sent to the press includes two jarring interruptions ("You are listening to a promotional copy of Beware by Bonnie Prince Billy") at surprising places in each of the song's thirteen brilliant folk-rock tracks. When he's on tour, you have to wonder if Billy (whom some consider indie rock's Willie Nelson) is hiring someone to walk out on stage twice during each song to declare, "You are watching a concert by Bonnie Prince Billy." Let's hope not, because Billy (whose songs have been covered by the likes of Johnny Cash and Mark Kozelek) is one of the most talented and prolific songwriters in recent pop history.

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