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The Letting Go


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Audio CD, September 19, 2006
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The Letting Go + I See a Darkness + Master & Everyone
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 19, 2006)
  • Original Release Date: January 1, 2006
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Drag City
  • ASIN: B000H0MMKY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,753 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Love Comes To Me
2. Strange Form Of Life
3. Wai
4. Cursed Sleep
5. No Bad News
6. Cold & Wet
7. Big Friday
8. Lay And Love
9. The Seedling
10. Then The Letting Go
11. God's Small Song
12. I Called You Back
13. Bonus Track 1

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The Letting Go is an overwhelming undertaking. As mentioned, there are strings lovely charts that do so much more than just trace chord changes up and down the neck. Arrangements by Ryder McNair and Nico Muhly are threaded throughout the record, augmenting a simple quintet players to provide a sixth sense. The deceptive nature of his band is on display from the top. Filthy Jim White is known far and wide for his resource behind the drum kit and he proves it song after song, with sensitivity that provokes dynamic variety from skins, an acoustic depth to the room. Paul Oldham's bass is a feeling accompaniment to Bonny's guitar, played with brotherly clairvoyance and constancy. Young Emmett Kelly's clean electric guitar lines roam within the web and suddenly shine, are blues and folk and r'n'b in shifting turn, guilelessly tactic and soulfully expressive. And up front with Bonny is the bewitching Dawn McCarthy of Faun Fables. Her vocal flights on those records can hardly prepare one for the intimacy and empathy of her harmonies and other voices on The Letting Go.

Amazon.com

Having long recorded as Palace Music or Palace, the enigmatic, elusive Bonnie "Prince" Billy continues to confound musical expectations. His latest may well be his loveliest, a series of meditations and tone poems on love and mortality, with the autumnal strains of a chamber quartet and the vocal counterpoint of Dawn McCarthy supporting Billy's tremulous expression of his surreal, stream-of-consciousness lyricism. Results range from the dreamy, bluesy "Cursed Sleep" and the evocation of a British madrigal on "No Bad News" to the discordant propulsion of "The Seedling" and the call and response of the folkish "Then the Letting Go." It all fits together in a manner that defies categorization and dares the listener to resist its aural seduction. --Don McLeese

Customer Reviews

McCarthy's voice is a fantastic companion to Oldham's.
gordo_aka_thegrunter
I whole-heartedly recommend this album to both new listeners and long-time fans.
Casey G. Hancock
This CD is for me, Will Oldham's finest thus far as a solo artist.
Artie Fisk

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By gordo_aka_thegrunter on October 5, 2006
Format: Audio CD
This might be the best CD that has come out this year. It may be Will Oldham's best CD since "Viva Last Blues." It may be better than "Viva Last Blues" although these are two different styled CDs. "The letting go" has a mostly very mellow sound. Almost every song is beautiful. The string and guitar melodies are uplifting. Will Oldham's voice is grounding, it is the familiar voice you have heard for the past decade or so. Dawn McCarthy's voice will then again lift you up. McCarthy's voice is a fantastic companion to Oldham's. Other singers/bands have tried to use a female voice to echo or accompany the lead vocal and it has often become irritating. This is not the case with "the letting go," McCarthy's accompaniment adds so much to the album but without taking away from Oldham. I haven't listened to a Will Oldham album since "Ease down the Road." This makes me want to go back and listen to those albums I have missed. One song in particular, "The Seedling" (I believe) has a different sound than the rest of the album. It has a harsher sound, but is still a good song.

This is a great introduction if you are new to Oldham or if you are returning listener.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Nathaniel P. Foster on December 12, 2006
Format: Audio CD
The Letting Go has more than its fair share of hauntingly, achingly beautiful moments. It may be a cliche at this point to use the words "haunting" and "aching" in a review of Will Oldham's music, but music like this defies easy description (as Oldham's lyrics avoid easy, literal narratives), being so unlike anything out there. These songs evoke exquisitly beautiful emotional landscapes composed of memory, dreams, longing, desire, regret, hope, composed in lyrics hinting at the subconscious desires, fears, and haunted dreams of each song's voice. The music itself traverses many musical lands, sometimes within the same song, recalling bleak Nordic vistas (mainly), the Southern delta, and even Renaissance England. The instruments, almost entirely acoustic (with the exception of electric guitar), are perfectly suited to the songs, with a heavy emphasis on strings (guitar, violin, cello) that pair perfectly with the tremor in Oldham's voice. Will Oldham is obviously not satisfied to travel down musical roads already well mapped out. Thankfully, since in pursuit of his experimental muse he has taken himself, and us his listeners, to some strange and gorgeous places. It is a shame that one or two reviewers with an adolescent appreciation of music can alter the number of stars a work like The Letting Go receives overall, but in any case it is only an Amazon review. This music doesn't need any other affirmation other than its own inherent qualities. It speaks for itself.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Terri Fawn Howard on February 10, 2009
Format: Audio CD
More layered and involved than "Master and Everyone" (my only other Bonnie 'Prince' Billy), "The Letting Go" is a beautiful and sometimes haunting work, masterfully blending folk, pop, country, and blues. Lyrically, he's gone off the deep end (not a complaint!) since "Master": I love the way he sees dead people flying in the sky in the opening lines of "Love Comes to Me"--or maybe he just senses the souls of the dead on the wings of birds. Throughout the album his lyrics tend toward surrealistic and stream-of-consciousness imagery. It took me a couple of listens before I figured out that "The Seedling" (should have been clue!) is primarily about a sex act--so obscure is method of addressing it. Oh--and the music's first-rate, too. For me, "Cursed Love" and "Lay and Love" are the finest tracks, the former opening with a gorgeous melange of guitar and strings, the latter making use of an intriguing synthesized drum sound. What a wise choice bringing in the sublime Dawn McCarthy for accompanying vocals! "The Letting Go" wouldn't have been nearly as emotive without her considerable talent. Bonnie 'Prince' Billy himself plays the part of the definitive love bard, exhibiting sheer genius in describing the topsy-turvey experience of being in love. One is forced to assume that between "Master" and "The Letting Go" he'd switched lovers. I mean, he's completely whipped in these grooves; though, for the most part, he manages to avoid conveying it in a treacly, disgusting manner. (Well, "I Called You Back" does border on the insipid--and it's the only somewhat wearying song here.) There's a final 'hidden' track (very hidden), a loose, meandering affair that nevertheless wraps up the album quite nicely.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jboogie on November 15, 2007
Format: Audio CD
The Letting Go is a must for fans of the 'Bonnie' Prince, and is a true gem in his highly impressive catalog. I have all of Will Oldham's albums with the execption of Joya, and they are all good, but this one is very special. The song writing is outstanding, and his harmonies with Dawn McCarthy are amazing. Anyone familiar with Mr. Oldhams' work under the 'Bonnie' Prince name knows his work is slow moving and emotive, and The Letting Go is similar, but is even more stirring than any of his previous work. This album has a highly cinematic feel to it, almost as if it's a soundtrack for some Oscar winning movie about timeless love or something. Like most 'Bonnie' Prince records this one takes a few listens to really get into and be able to appreciate the depth of musical and poetic skill of this artist, but it is worth the time. Get this one now! Seriously!!
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