Riding on a Tortoise down Thunder Road

bonnie prince billy

This one’s been all over the mp3 blogs over the last few weeks, but as I always say, it’s my blog and i’ll post if I want to…

I’m always curious to hear new interpretations of Springsteen tunes. I posted one of my favorites, Patty Griffin’s version of “Stolen Car”, a while back. And The Mavericks do a good job on “All that Heaven Will Allow”. So I was alerted through a Glide Magazine review that “Thunder Road” was covered on a new release by Tortoise and Bonnie “Prince” Billy. When I see “Bonnie Prince Billy”, I picture a 50 or 60-something rastafarian reggae dude. Not sure where I conjure up that image from. It turns out BPB is Will Oldham, who looks more like a Civil War Union soldier than a member of the Wailers. BPB is a Louisville, Kentucky native who has also recorded under the names Palace Songs, Palace Brothers and Palace Music (as well as his own name).

Tortoise looks interesting: they “revolutionized American indie rock in the mid-’90s by playing down tried-and-true punk and rock & roll influences, emphasizing instead the incorporation of a variety of left-field music genres from the past 20 years, including Krautrock, dub, avant-garde jazz, classical minimalism, ambient and space music, film music, and British electronica.” (from All Music).

As you can tell by my thorough analysis, I’m not that plugged into the indie scene. You can get that thorough analysis at about a billion other mp3 blogs. Anyhoo, I’ll have to give these guys a more thorough listen. But I do claims dibs on all things Bruce, and as for this version of “Thunder Road”, they definitely give it a complete reworking. I like the instrumentation and the overall feel; a very unique take on the song.

Tortoise and Bonnie “Prince” Billy: Thunder Road (mp3) – from The Brave and the Bold, an album of covers.


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