Alternative country folk singer Bonnie Prince Billy arrives in Israel tonight for a two-city tour starting at the Patiphon Club in Tel Aviv.
"Bonnie Prince Billy" is the latest of a series of aliases for Kentucky songwriter Will Oldham, who says the moniker has many references, among them the 18th-century Jacobite Bonnie Prince Charlie; Billy the Kid (the 19th century American outlaw whose real name was Willian Bonney); and Nat King Cole. Using the spare, backwoods side of country and folk, Oldham performs deceptively simple and haunting acoustic songs that are enhanced by his cracking voice, which has been described as Hank Williams on Valium.
In addition to his own projects, Oldham has also played with other musicians, including Bjork, PJ Harvey, Johnny Cash and the Silver Jews. Oldham has also appeared in several films, most recently as a folk-art scount in the 2005 Junebug.
The Jerusalem show is being sponsored by Men of Israel Records and Distribution, which recently opened a store offering just-released CDs and vinyl records from local and international indie artists.
Preceding Oldham's performance will be a short opening set from local MOI label artists: The Pit That Became a Tower; ENDoF; James Wesley Hilsden; and The Third Culture Kids.
The stor is located in the same building as the venue for the Tuesday evening show - the notoriously dilapidated Clal Building on Jaffa road. While the store is situated in the still grungy second floor of the atrium section, the show itself will take place in the surprisingly upscale auditorium recently built on the basement-level site of the old Kfir movie theater.
Tonight, tomorrow and Sunday at the Patifon Club, Rehov Yitzhak Sade 32, Tel Aviv; Info: (054) 784-2577, NIS 120. Tuesday, 8 p.m. The Pavillion, floor P1, Clal Building, Rehov Jaffa 97, NIS 120; 0542-036034.