Will Hermes
March 19, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

Greatest Palace Music

Current Status
In Season
Bonnie Prince Billy
Drag City

We gave it a B

BONNIE ”PRINCE” BILLY Greatest Palace Music Drag City

One of the odder dudes to walk through the honky-tonk doors, Will Oldham (a.k.a. Palace, Bonnie ”Prince” Billie, etc.) is known for shambling, sometimes heart-crushing records made with an indie-rock head and a country music soul. This set has him perversely remaking some of his edgy early material as 1970s Nashville pop a la Charlie Rich and Glen Campbell. Is it an improvement? Not really. But the recontextualization can be haunting, as when modern painters (such as John Currin) mutate Dutch master classicism with 21st-century dread. AND HE WAS A CHILD ACTOR In ”I Am a Cinematographer,” the onetime thespian (he played the young union spur in John Sayles’ Matewan) looks at life from behind the metaphoric lens.

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