Bold Enough To Say (2014)
The essential conceit of Bold Enough to Say, parsing the Lord's Prayer to its constituent parts and through the lyrical exploration of those fragments questioning, stretching, affirming, and transforming the spiritual truths it represents is itself genius; the gifts of musical, lyric, and expressive talent you bring to bear upon the endeavor are, truly, real genius, the real genius of realized purpose that itself becomes the expression of the divine; these gifts bring your original idea wholly to a life that is radically affecting. Experiencing this work is like loving a person, or like loving godhead: you are challenged, confounded, affirmed, comforted, compelled, embraced, called to account, and finally perfected through that love. You have created a masterpiece of our modern era that not only brings spirituality to the contemporary moment in the language of our time, but compels the spiritualist to the necessity of that call. My own compulsion is that the holy woman or man, which we are all each, must become himself the living fuse of the spirit to which he professes, that he is himself not merely a celebrant but the living incarnation, the sacred keep, of that very faith, that he both recreates it and carries it with him as he goes, with all attendant responsibilities of compassion and grace; to my subjective eye you have expressed a similar notion with tremendous beauty and power in Bold Enough to Say.
With Bold Enough to Say, Billy, you have stunningly achieved this apotheosis. All that astonishing original talent is here, intact after all these years of its harrowing and joyful journey of self-realization: the angelic voice, the literate lyrics, the rock 'n' roll edge. The mojo of your first majesty is as heavy and light and wonderful as ever. Indeed those original capacities have seasoned along with your sense. But there is more here now, a distilling alchemy, the piercing necessity and concomitant perfection of the robust voice of realized purpose. All your considerable capacity is focused with transformative intention on your expressive imperative with an integrated mastery that becomes real genius. - Ethan Dunn