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Ask Forgiveness

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Bonnie Prince Billy

Ask Forgiveness

12" LP

Availability: In stock


Quick Overview

Following the many intensities of The Letting Go and its three singles and EP, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy went to Philadelphia to cool out with a record of covers versions. But the combination of summer days, Philadelphia streets and the way Bonny is ambushed the cooling process, producing eight sizzlers instead and creating the need to Ask Forgiveness. Redolent of the haze hovering o’er the city of brotherly love, Ask Forgiveness was recorded on the fly at Hexham Head. With a basic alignment of Bonny and Meg Baird on acoustics and vocals and Greg Weeks on electric guitar, aided and abetted by Maggie Wienk on cello at times, the colors begin shifting and flashing right away, with acoustics glinting and a bit of electric guitar tone, running clean to resonant to Leslie and back; a light touch on the faders bringing vocals and guitars to and fro in perfect time. Covering a handful of diverse songwriters (Newbury, Guðmundsdóttir, Anzalone, Ochs, Billy, Haggard, Caldwell and Kelly), Bonny makes each one of their songs his own simply, through the process of having taken it within and loving it - and then singing it out again, in good company.


This is a mini-album with seven covers and one original tune by Will Oldham (a.k.a. Bonnie 'Prince' Billy). Cover records by alt-rock types are often a risky venture, whether they reveal shortcomings in a young artist or come filled with ironic, cheeky takes on old standards. Of course, Oldham has covered a judicious amount of seemingly incongruous songs over the years, including Mariah Carey on this year's (largely throwaway) Guilt By Association compilation and fare as diverse as AC/DC, Bob Marley, and even a number from "Evita." Ask Forgiveness—where Oldham covers Björk, Danzig, Thom Yorke, Phil Ochs, and (most spectacularly) R. Kelly—ranks among that slim collection of covers albums worth owning. It probably helps that this doesn't sound like alt-rock; The songs are sung in Oldham's usual soft-spoken, troubadour acoustic mode, and they thankfully feature lovely female backing vocals throughout. Clearly, he is very interested in these songs, and he mines their narrative and emotional core to truly make the material his own. His delivery is irony-free, compelling and strikingly straightforward (if quavery-throated). Huzzah! Now, no one else needs to make another record like this for another dozen years.

Additional Information

Artist Bonnie Prince Billy
Track Listing 1 I Came to Hear the Music - 4:41 2 I've Seen It All - 3:42 3 Am I Demon? - 3:43 4 My Life - 4:03 5 I'm Loving the Street - 2:38 6 The Way I Am - 4:13 7 Cycles - 4:09 8 The World's Greatest - 2:26

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