Will Oldham is the real deal in a world of rank illusion—and vice versa. As the identity-scrambling singer known as Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Oldham lends the appearance of an oversized leprechaun dishing the cosmic dirt on hope, friendship, love, and death via the haunted tropes of early-American folk and country music. His balding pate and cartoon beard suggest silent comedies, but his inviting close-enough tenor is clearly tethered to a thoughtful soul, as this edition of Lincoln Center’s “American Songbook” series should demonstrate. Oldham’s latest project, a gorgeous set of Everly Brothers duets with Faun Fables’ Dawn McCarthy titled What the Brothers Sang, beautifully balances the mordant mysteries of songs like “I See a Darkness,” which even Johnny Cash deemed worthy of late-
career coverage.

Thu., Feb. 7, 8:30 p.m., 2013