# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Bill Kirchen - Word to the Wise

  by Lisa Torem

published: 26 / 6 / 2010

Bill Kirchen - Word to the Wise
Label: Proper Records
Format: CD


Upbeat and memorable collection of duets between Michigan-born guitarist and singer-songwriter Bill Kirchen and a range of special guests which includes Elvis Costello and Maria Muldaur

If a songwriter and twangy rockabilly guitarist hailing from the humble Midwestern town of Ann Arbor, Michigan can morph into the ‘Titan of the Telecaster’ then the guest artists performing on 'Word to the Wise' should be known as demi-gods. Bill Kirchen released his previous album on Proper Records, 'Hammers of the Honky Tonk', in early 2007, which included the talents of Nick Lowe ', Chris Gaffney and Dave Gonzalez. Kirchen is most well known as singer and guitarist with the original Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, and his dazzling ‘Hot Rod Lincoln’ solo in 1972, but that’s only half of the story. At least 20 years of his life were spent in Washington DC when he formed Bill Kirchen and Too Much Fun. This well-rounded purveyor of multiple genres has always relied on the kindness of strangers; his most beloved Fender Telecaster was obtained by trading with one such soul who offered him a Gibson SG in exchange. But, besides that fateful experience, Kirchen has deliberately assembled old friends, with whom he has shared the most intimate of stages, and offered them access to duets, outstanding songs he has penned and originals birthed by classic country songwriters. The satirical Roger Miller author of ‘King of The Road,’ for example, wrote ‘Husbands and Wives.’ Merle Haggard wrote ‘Shelly’s Winter Love’ which features a robust duet by Paul Carrack and Nick Lowe. ‘Ain’t Got Time for the Blues’ has garnered time for Maria Muldaur to spin her sultry vocal exuberance – Kirchner, a long-time admirer, wrote the song exclusively for her. ‘Man in the Bottom of The Well’ was written by Kirchen, but sung splendidly by Elvis Costello. Blues, Rockabilly and Western swing collide across fuzzy genre borders. The witty ‘I Don’t Work That Cheap’ blasts the past with a charming piano solo by Commander Cody himself. The title song features that infectious swing instantly recognizable as Dan Hicks. Kirchner displays his songwriting gravitas here; he has co-written 9 out of the 11 songs and, the fact that his wife Louise sings backing vocals and his producer Paul Riley provides bass and sings along, too, gives the album a home-grown, highly personal feel. The core band, drummer/singer Jack O’Dell, bassist Johnny Castle and multi-instrumentalist Austin de Lone provided the sterling solid skeleton on to which the guest artists placed their lived-in muscles. In essence, ‘Word to the Wise’ is an upbeat and memorable surprise much like the note in the bottle, sent sailing across the Atlantic, that one discovers unscathed, even though it’s traveled through a sea of changes.

Track Listing:-
1 Bump Wood
2 Shelly's Winter Love
3 Man In The Bottom Of The Well
4 I Don't Work That Cheap
5 Time Will Tell The Story
6 Husbands And Wives
7 Open Range
8 Arkansas Diamond
9 Word To The Wise
10 Ain't Got Time For The Blues
11 Valley Of The Moon

Label Links:-

Post A Comment

your name
ie London, UK
Check box to submit

digital downloads

most viewed articles

most viewed reviews

Pennyblackmusic Regular Contributors