Many of the songs I wrote for my fourth/coming album were inspired by experiences I had while on tour promoting my 2019 release, “Now I’m Free.” While traveling through Utah, I met and spoke with a Navajo man and later spent several hours sitting on a mountainside in Salt Wash, playing the Native American Flute that I had started to learn to play about a year or so earlier. It was such a beautiful place, it was hard to leave there when the time came to get back to moving further down the road. Driving more than 11,000 miles across the country and back, from August through October 2019, was amazing. On the longer drives between shows, I’d sometimes reorganize my thoughts into Haiku, to pass the time. Watching the full moon disappear and reappear between the mountains in Wyoming, and feeling a frozen fragment of a waterfall melt in my hand after a three hour hike up a Colorado mountain to the base of the falls, are just some of the surreal moments from the road that I attempted to capture in rhythmic syllables and which I’ll never willingly forget. When I returned home after the end of the tour, I used those Haikus and more, for the lyrics for a new song that now breaks my previous formidable record for long running prose set to even longer running passages of music. In its conception, I had thought that it would be the only song on this album to feature the Native American Flute, but as I was waiting for two flutes to be built for it, in the key of D, I continued to develop ideas for the part by playing my “key of G” and “key of C” flutes to some of the other songs that I have also recorded for this album. In doing that, I discovered that the flute’s voice was a perfect fit for another of those songs, which, I’m happy to say, I just finished tonight. I’m really excited about how this one took on a life of its own, unexpectedly, in a very moving way, that’s also tying it to other sounds that I had planned from the beginning of this project. It’s very gratifying when you start to hear common themes emerging in a unifying way, spontaneously, from song to song, while being driven by your focus on the planned parts. When the songs start to awaken and breath on their own and then together that way, it’s a really good feeling. I’m so looking forward to sharing this album with you all when it’s done!
I know I've been quiet on this page for a while, but now I'm back again! After returning home from 2 1/2 months and 11k miles of the "Now I'm Free" tour right around this time last year, I dug in deep to finish the build out of my new recording studio, and was glad to have that work to do while self isolating during the pandemic surge that hit NY earlier this year. My last two albums were recorded almost completely live in the studio (Through These Waves was done at The Bomb Shelter in East Nashville and Now I'm Free was at Skinny Elephant Recording in Ingelwood, TN) with amazing musicians including, Joachim Cooder, Chris Scruggs, Kim Richey, Laur Joamets, Will Kimbrough, Erin Rae, Eamon McGloughlin, Brent Burke, Neilson Hubbard, Michael Rinni, Jonah Tolchin and more, but a live recording wasn't an option this time around with the Covid looming. So, after getting the studio here in NY up and running, I started recording the basic tracks, acoustic guitar and vocals, for 14 new songs for my next album. Recording solo is such a different process than recording live with a band but, again, I'm glad to have been able to do it at a time when the recording couldn't have been safely started otherwise. Now that the basic tracks are done, I'll be reaching out to ask some old and new friends to add their instruments to these recordings, in ways that only they can. Hearing your own songs breathing through other artists' voices, is an indescribable thing. Music is a universal language all it's own and I'm excited to have finally arrived at this phase of the creative process and to be moving closer still, to releasing these new songs for you to hear and enjoy. No one can say what the future will bring in these uncertain times, but one thing remains certain... there will always be new music to keep us all alive and strong. Check back here again for updates on the new record. Be well, stay safe and vote smart.
In this pandemic-induced seclusion, every artist turning to their instruments to express their anxieties, frustrations and sorrows and joys, and the deepened self-awareness and compassion that often manifests out of such circumstances, is, possibly without even knowing it, now writing their best music ever. So, look humbly forward to 2021 for those releases. It’s going to be an amazing year of human connection. Stay safe. Be well. Bill S.
Hey! I've been crazy busy writing new music for my next album and putting the finishing touches on the new studio. My new vision is, "Hindsight is 2020" and "All things new for the new year." It's a paradox, for sure. Stay tuned here for more about this later! Peace, Bill S.
Hi Folks! After travelling a little more than 11,000 miles across the country over the past couple of months, for the "Now I'm Free" tour, it feels good to be back home with the Subaru unloaded and resting cool in the driveway, although I am here sooner than planned. While in California in the second week of October, my mother, who is 94, told me that she was having some health care issues. I spoke with her on the phone everyday during this tour, but this time, she did not sound well and she asked me to come back to New York as soon as I could. So, I cancelled my remaining performances and began the long west-to-east-coast drive, and arrived back here in just a matter of days.The good news is that mom is doing well and we're looking forward to celebrating her 95th birthday in February, 2020. My apologies and gratitude to the very gracious and supportive venues that I wasn't able to get to this time around, for universally understanding that, when your mama calls for you at 94, you've got to go. Now that all things are settled here, and with some unexpected free time on my hands, I've begun writing some new music and, if all goes as I am envisioning that it should, there will be a new, fourth album appearing in the near future. I am extremely happy with the response to "Now I'm Free." With a full album premiere by Billboard Magazine, song premieres by The Bluegrass Situation and Americana Highways, numerous radio stations repeatedly spinning even the longest of the long tracks on this album in their entirety, the amazing album reviews and the personal connections I've made with people I've met while traveling from town to town, I can honestly say that, I couldn't be happier with where this record has taken me, as my journey forward continues. For now, I'm back to focusing on writing, with just some occasional performances on the immediate horizon and some other exciting things also in the works. Check back here soon for more info and updates! I thank you all for coming to the shows when you can and for all of your support for my music and what I do. I wish you all the best. Real peace, Bill S.
I bring you warm greetings from the road! Tomorrow starts the sixth week and 7000th mile of the “Now I’m Free“ tour as I head towards my next show in California. This album and everything that came before and after it and is part of its creation, has been a continuing lesson in learning, enduring, healing, change, discovery, adaptability, transformation, acceptance, frustration and growth, in each and all of its stages. And there have been so many stages. It all started and then continued forward with the inspiration for and process of writing each of the songs over the past three years, living with them and performing them as they continued to evolve into their best expressions of their full and often fluid meaning, choosing which songs would be in the final group of tracks selected from among other songs that also could have made it onto this record, considering the arrangement of instruments and Musicians who would perform for the recording sessions, zeroing in on the production aesthetic and the logistics and execution of the recording process and engineering, arriving at the studio and allowing the emotions, creativity and performances to happen and flow in their own way and on their own course as each of the songs came to life and was captured as a snapshot in time, then putting all of the recordings together into a sequence that allows each of the songs to breath in its own space and convey its meaning in its best light in relation to the tracks before and after, putting the final sonic and timing touches on the music through mastering, creating and developing the concepts for the promotional videos, photography and the graphic visual art for the CD cases, LP jackets and inserts, performance posters, social media posts and more, then getting it all encoded, manufactured, downloaded, uploaded, delivered and distributed to publications, reviewers, interviewers, radio stations and streaming platforms for “the roll out,” with written biographies and introductions for the first and later listens, for the premieres and for the official release, developing a planned tour route and sorting through the scheduling and human logistics for booking performances in the cities and towns along the way, then packing and loading it all up and starting the long drive up, down and across the country and eventually back, through amazing landscapes to sometimes spectacular and sometimes humble and humbling places, sights and experiences never before seen or had, and, with every performance along the way, reliving each emotion and moment in time that led to the creation of each song, and being blessed with the opportunity to share that with each new audience and, night after night, having memorable people explain to me intimately how a particular song or songs resonated with them and an experience they’ve had in their own lives and what it means to them to have those experiences awakened and touched by and through these songs. It is a truly beautiful thing to be able to do this and I am so very thankful for all of you that I have met along the way. For this record and for all of the experiences surrounding it, I’ve chosen the image and imagery of the dragonfly as a symbol for the learning, enduring, healing, change, discovery, adaptability, transformation, acceptance, and growth that surrounds this record. To my amazement, that symbol has appeared many times on this path (including in the artwork hanging in the rooms and lobbies of a hotel in upstate New York and on the sides of the city buses in Everett Washington and other places). What I’ve also found is that people, literally everyone, everywhere, are struggling with change that has affected them in profoundly life altering ways and that we are all simply seeking understanding and compassion as we search for a clear path forward. Let’s always remember that, and to always be kind to one another. Im looking forward to meeting you on the road! Peace. Bill S.
Yesterday was the official release date for my 3rd album, “Now I’m Free,” and I am so excited to finally get this one out into the world! I have poured so much emotion, time, and effort into writing, recording, and releasing these songs, and now performing them live across the country, and it has been an amazing experience hearing from the audiences how the music is resonating with them in such positive and healing ways. And, yes, “It’s the way you look at where you’ve been that takes you where you are,” and right now I can see that, deep down, when all is said and done, processed and understood, I have passed through the storm and come to a clearing, and it’s a good feeling to be in this particular place, at this time. This is where I do belong and, right now I’m especially proud to be doing this and am looking forward to the rest of the upcoming live shows! I have a few in Washington, and then more in Oregon, and California before heading back to Colorado and all through Texas. After that I’ll start making my way back east from there, towards New York, with more stops to come along the way in TN, KY, VA, NC, DC and beyond. To my great comfort, at almost every turn since the creation of this album and throughout this tour, there has been someone who has given me an immeasurable amount of support when it was most needed. You all know who you are and how grateful I am for you! The truth is that it would have been incredibly difficult to have come this far without you all being there for me, and I am so very grateful for you. Let me say that again: I am so very grateful for you!!! Performing at the Newport Folk Festival on July 26 of this year was a surreal experience. Very truly a dream come true. Receiving so many wonderful reviews of the album, a full album premiere by Billboard, and song premieres by The Bluegrass Situation and Americana Highways, has also been so humbling and positively affirming. I have put so much passion into this record. All one can really ask for is another’s willingness to listen. So again, I thank you all for listening. So, here I am writing this from a Subaru dealership in Marysville, Washington, where I’m getting an oil change and a tire rotation now that I’m about 5,700 miles into the tour. I hope to see you at the show in Everett, WA tonight and at the shows to come! When I get back to New York in November I’m hoping to spend some time writing some new music. I’ll be looking at things from a different perspective now and I’m excited to start it and to be able to share it with you when it’s done! Stay tuned for more good things to come! All the best, Bill S.
It's been an incredible weekend Folks! Playing Newport Folk Festival was just absolutely amazing! I can't think of any higher honor or greater privilege than to have been included as "One of the folk," asked to perform at such an historic and iconic event. This is truly a time to savor and remember. I send my heartfelt thank you out to Chris Funk of the Decemberists for including me in this year's line up and for making this experience so enjoyable. I am humbled by the greatness of this festival and especially by the warmth and friendship of all of the folks who work so passionately to make the magic that is NFF happen year after year. Thank you! <3 -B
June 28, 2019 marks the turning of an old page. On to new pages now folks. The greater things are right there waiting in the turning.
Wow, I am so excited to be able to announce that I'll be performing at this year's Newport Folk Festival as part of "For Pete's Sake" on the museum Stage on Friday, July 26th. Thanks so much to Chris Funk for including me in this year's line up! If you're gonna be at the Fort this year, stop in and say hello! All the best, Bill S.
See the official NFF announcement at this link: http://www.newportfolk.org/for-petes-sake-2019