Bonnie “Prince” Billy Looking Haggard These Days

The music of Merle Haggard has long been a font of inspiration for singer/songwriter Will Oldham, so much so that he’s entertained the idea of recording a full-length tribute to the Okie from Muskogee for many years.

Come May 5th, under the guise of Bonnie “Prince” Billy, he’ll make it official. On Best Troubadour, he performs a carefully chosen array of songs the Hag created from 1969 to 2003. Best Troubadour [Drag City] spent years incubating in the planning stages, but Haggard’s untimely ascension to the honky-tonk heavens last April spurred Oldham to set it in motion. Among the selections on tap for homage: “Mama Tried,” which pairs him with frequent collaborator Oscar Parsons; “I’m Always on a Mountain When I Fall;” “That’s the Way Love Goes;” and “Some of Us Fly.” The Bonafide United Musicians, comprised largely of Oldham’s fellow Louisvillians, provide accompaniment throughout.