In October of 2020, Bill Callahan and Bonnie "Prince" Billy posted a cover of the Yusuf Islam/Cat Stevens' 1967 protest anthem "Blackness of the Night. " "For this bad bad world, I'm beginning to doubt/I'm alone and there is no one by my side," the Bills harmonize, Callahan low and steady, Will Oldham lilting above, over a gentle shuffle of acoustic guitar and synth courtesy of their labelmate Azita Youssefi. Though it's a song centered on solitude and loneliness, sung from the point of view of an outcast, the recording exudes a spirit of camaraderie, longtime compatriots reaching across the digital expanse to connect, "Determined to make a new friend out of an old favorite.
Blind Date Party arrives like a breath of fresh air for listeners numbed by a pandemic that drags on, confounding expectations at every turn. The project had its genesis in spring 2020, when Drag City figureheads Bonnie Prince Billy and Bill Callahan, in conversation with the label, hatched an idea for a long-distance project. The duo came up with a list of songs they wanted to cover and reached out to the eclectic range of artists on Drag City's roster, sonic deconstructionists often springing from the fertile Chicago scene.