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Bill Kirchen news

June 18, 2010 by  

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Bill Kirchen news

Bill Kirchen ‘Word To The Wise’ out 19th July 2010 on Proper Records

The “Titan of the Telecaster” Behind “Hot Rod Lincoln” is Joined by A-List Colleagues Including Paul Carrack, Commander Cody, Elvis Costello, Dan Hicks, Nick Lowe, Maria Muldaur, and others. /

Bill Kirchen has been hailed as the original “Dieselbilly” guitarist, as a standout singer and songwriter, and as a pioneer of rock and roll honky-tonk with the band Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen. Now Kirchen is headed for a breakout with his new album of all-star duets, ‘Word to the Wise’ (Proper).

Full of humour, Telecaster twang, and serving up heaping portions of rock and roll, country, boogie-woogie and Western swing, ‘Word to the Wise’ features duets with nearly a dozen guest artists he’s met along the way (see track list below). It includes masterpieces old and new, such as Roger Miller’s classic “Husbands and Wives,” a new Dan Hicks/Bill Kirchen co-write (the title track, “Word to the Wise,”) and Kirchen’s powerful rocker, “Man in the Bottom of the Well,” sung unforgettably by Elvis Costello.

“I wanted to do an album with people I share a musical connection with,” Bill says. “I’ve worked with all of these people: I recorded with Nick Lowe, I’ve gigged with Elvis Costello, and with Maria Muldaur and Dan Hicks back in the day.”

‘Word to the Wise’ also features a new classic with Commander Cody on piano: “I Don’t Work That Cheap” is a surrealistic romp through history that recalls the psychedelic spirit of Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” concluding with the memorable line, “You can’t pay me what I’m worth – I don’t work that cheap.”

Merle Haggard’s “Shelly’s Winter Love” is a more conventional duet, but Kirchen opts to get out of the way as Lowe and Carrack blend their burnished voices on it in the classic Everly Brothers manner. “The last thing I’m gonna do is get up and sing with Paul Carrack and Nick Lowe,” Kirchen says with a laugh. “It’s not gonna happen. That song just marched up to second position on the album…The way those two guys go toe-to-toe is just sublime.

Justly famous for his indelible Telecaster sound on “Hot Rod Lincoln,” his 1972 Top 10 hit with Commander Cody, Bill Kirchen has been everywhere over the span of a 40-plus-year career: he was a founding member of the legendary Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen; he released eight critically acclaimed solo albums; he toured internationally with Nick Lowe and has performed with the likes of Doug Sahm, Gene Vincent, Elvis Costello, Dan Hicks, Emmylou Harris, Bruce Hornsby and Link Wray.

The album, produced and recorded by Proper’s Paul Riley, was tracked at London’s Specific Sound, with additional recording done all over the map, from Austin to Vancouver to Bill’s home setup in Maryland. “We sent the tapes of ‘Man in the Bottom of the Well’ to Vancouver for Elvis to put his vocals on, but the rest of the time, we travelled around the country and collected those people,” Kirchen explains. In each case, the guests recorded their parts on top of basic tracks laid out by the core band of Bill, drummer/singer Jack O’Dell, bass player Johnny Castle and keyboardist/guitarist/vocalist Austin de Lone, the former leader of seminal pub-rock band Eggs Over Easy.

Word To The Wise Tracklisting
1. Bump Wood
2. Shelly’s Winter Love (with Nick Lowe and Paul Carrack)
3. Man in the Bottom of the Well (with Elvis Costello)
4. I Don’t Work That Cheap (with Commander Cody on piano)
5. Time Will Tell The Story
6. Husbands And Wives (with Chris O’Connell)
7. Open Range (with Kevin “Blackie” Farrell)
8. Arkansas Diamond
9. Word To The Wise (with Dan Hicks)
10. Ain’t Got Time For The Blues (with Maria Muldaur)
11. Valley Of The Moon (with Norton Buffalo on harmonica)



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