Bonnie “Prince” Billy – “Mama Tried” (Merle Haggard Cover) Video

Will Oldham has always been a vocal admirer of country legend Merle Haggard, who died last year. The first time Oldham ever sang in public, it was a Haggard song. And this spring, under his Bonnie “Prince” Billy pseudonym, Oldham will release a full album of Haggard’s songs. Best Troubador includes Oldham’s versions of his favorite songs from across Haggard’s career, and it includes contributions from longtime collaborators like Matt Sweeney and Emmett Kelly. It’s Oldham’s first Bonnie “Prince” Billy album since he released Singer’s Grave – A Sea Of Tongues in 2014. And Oldham has made a video for his version of Haggard’s 1968 classic “Mama Tried,” one of the greatest songs in American history. Oldham’s version is an amiable chug with a lead vocal from collaborator Oscar Parsons. Its video, from director Steven Schardt, is a 360-degree virtual-reality affair that features Oldham, Parsons, and a few friends and dogs running around a field. It’s the lowest-tech use of high-tech equipment I can imagine. Watch it at Vimeo, and check out the Best Troubador tracklist below.

01 “The Fugitive”
02 “I’m Always on a Mountain When I Fall”
03 “The Day the Rains Came”
04 “Haggard (Like I’ve Never Been Before)”
05 “I Always Get Lucky With You”
06 “Leonard”
07 “My Old Pal”
08 “Roses in the Winter”
09 “Some of Us Fly”
10 “Wouldn’t That Be Something”
11 “Pray”
12 “That’s the Way Love Goes”
13 “Nobody’s Darling”
14 “What I Hate (Excerpt)”
15 “I Am What I Am”
16 “If I Could Only Fly”

Best Troubador is out 5/5 on Drag City.