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Bill Kirchen

"Hammer Of The Honky-Tonk Gods"

Irish Release Date: 26/01/2007 on Proper Records (Gael Linn)

New album from 'Titan Of The Telecaster' Kirchen, the man most famous for penning Hot Rod Lincoln for Commander Cody & The Lost Planet Airmen. Kirchen treads where country music finds its origins in blues and bluegrass, and in the Western Swing of Texas and California honky tonks. He is joined by Nick Lowe and The Impossible Birds (Geraint Watkins, Robert Trehern and Audie DeLone), and their influence is very much in evidence.

Grammy nominated guitarist, singer and songwriter Bill Kirchen is one of the fortunate few who can step on any stage, play those trademark licks which drove the seminal Commander Cody classic Hot Rod Lincoln into the Top Ten in the U.S., and elicit instant recognition for a career that’s spanned over 30 years and includes performances with names like Nick Lowe, Emmylou Harris, Doug Sahm, Elvis Costello and Danny Gatton. Named ‘A Titan of the Telecaster’ by Guitar Player Magazine, he celebrates an American musical tradition where country music draws upon its origins in blues and bluegrass, and in the Western swing of Texas and California honky tonks. An apt description of Bill’s singing, songwriting and guitar playing skill is provided in this quote from Nick Lowe: “He's like a devastating culmination of the elegant and funky... a really sensational musician, with enormous depth.”

Track listing: Hammer Of The Honky-Tonk Gods / Rocks Into Sand / Get A Little Goner / Skid Row In My Mind / Working Man / Soul Cruisin’ / Truth Be Told / Devil With The Blue Dress / One More Day / Heart Of Gold / If It’s Really Got To Be This Way.


 
 
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Bill Kirchen plays American roots music. He received a Grammy nomination for Best Country Instrumental Performance 2001. A Titan of the Telecaster guitar (Guitar Player magazine May 1998 & June 2002), he celebrates an American musical tradition where country music draws upon its origins in blues and bluegrass, and in the Western swing of Texas and California honky tonks. Bill Kirchen first gained renown as lead guitarist and a vocalist for Commander Cody & his Lost Planet Airmen, the renegade country-rock band that tuned a whole generation of rock fans into the joys of unvarnished country, boogie and rockabilly. It was the resonant twang of Kirchen's battered Telecaster that drove "Hot Rod Lincoln" into the Top Ten in the U.S. in 1972. Kirchen has played guitar on recordings and performances with Gene Vincent, Link Wray, Danny Gatton, Emmylou Harris, Hoyt Axton, Nick Lowe and Elvis Costello.

In 2002 Bill Kirchen was inducted into the Washington Area Music Association Hall of Fame along with Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters, Nirvana) and John Phillip Sousa as well as winning 10 additional Wammies including Artist of the Year and Musician of the Year. In previous years, he won 2000 Rock/ Roots Rock Instrumentalist of the Year, Roots Rock Album (Raise A Ruckus) and 1999 Instrumentalist of the Year at the WAMA Awards, as well as being a multiple winner in 1997 and 1998, receiving ten awards, including Songwriter of the Year. Seamlessly integrating the band's sound is Kirchen's incredible fluency in the tradition of American electric guitar, roots division. A Kirchen performance recalls a half century of guitar legends from virtuosos like Merle Travis, Joe Maphis and Grady Martin to rock legends like Scotty Moore, James Burton and Duane Eddy and extends their brilliance into the nineties. This is well captured on his CD's Raise A Ruckus, Hot Rod Lincoln - Live! and Tied to the Wheel on HighTone Records.

Bill has performed with Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe in the U.S. and UK and accompanied Ralph Stanley on a national broadcast of Mountain Stage radio. He performed at the 25th year reunion radio show of Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen on the widely syndicated Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion in January 2001. Also on the air was the band's Fourth of July 1999 Celebration show at the Washington Monument with Tito Puente, and Shirley Caesar. Bill headlined a U.S. tour of Hightone Records Presents The TwangBangers, a honky tonk super group featuring guitarist Redd Volkaert (Merle Haggard), steel guitar player Joe Goldmark (Taj Mahal, Maria Muldaur and Peter Rowan) and singer-songwriter Dallas Wayne. They played the Blue Highways Festival in Utrecht, Holland in March 2002. Serving as The TwangBangers rhythm section for the tour were Johnny Castle on bass and Jack O'Dell on drums, collectively known as Too Much Fun, who've been working with Kirchen for over 10 years.

Bill in a regular visitor to Europe and plans are afoot for him to return to promote his new album in 2007


 
 
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