Goodtime John & Bonnie Prince Billy :: New Life

For the last 20+ years, Irish singer/songwriter J. Cowhie has released music under his own name and the Goodtime John banner. From his earliest days recording skeletal folk rock to a Tascam Portastudio 4 Track to 2019’s drum machine and synth dappled Beauty and Chaos, Cowie imbues his tunes with a sense of thoughtfulness. And now he’s back with the mighty Will Oldham aka Bonnie “Prince” Billy in the cut with him. On the recently released “New Life,” Cowie applies AOR textures to his minimal form, conjuring up a grand but sparse sense of atmosphere that wouldn’t feel out of place on a late-era Pink Floyd recording. “How the vast, wondrous light/casts a spell tonight,” the two sing over a cycling electric guitar motif and quaking foundation of synth. Though the song evokes the foreboding air of a journey to the underworld, there’s something curiously uplifting at work too, a suggestion that perhaps what comes after life ends could be luminous and mysterious. | j woodbury

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