May 21, 2022 Update: Music Videos! 


Hi all!

Things are rolling along at a fast pace for the new album release now, and I just wanted to check in for a minute and bring you up to date. On May 15th, I drove to Nashville once again, and got myself set up in a hotel there for a few days. I spent the following day at some of my favorite stops in East and West Nashville and found some new favorites as well. Nashville has changed so much in the past few years, but, then again, so has everything else. Whether you want to see that as being a good thing or a bad thing, it doesn't change what it is now. I was still glad to be there just the same. The next morning, on the 17th, I got back in my car and drove to Neilson Hubbard‘s home in Kentucky. Neilson's film-production partner, Josh Britt, met us there. We talked for a bit about our plan for this day—which was to film a music video for the second single ("The Broken Heart Side of the Road") off the new album, in an old barn that was nearby. Then we drove to the site and got to work. In short, it was a beautiful and fun day. At the time of this writing, I haven’t yet seen the video in it’s finished form. What I can tell you about it now though is that, at times, I played guitar and sang, and there was an old movie projector, lots of dirt and dust, a paintbrush, a girl, some rocks, some photos, the barn and some other things also involved. I can also say that we had a great time filming and that I'm looking forward to seeing and sharing it together with you in about a month or so from now. On the 18th, we were back in Nashville and shot another video there, that includes some of the musicians performing the song "I-70 East" off the new album. Neilson on drums, Danny Mitchell (Miranda Lambert) on Hammond B3 Organ and, Mike Rinne (Miranda Lambert) on Bass join me in this video, and it will be released sometime in early June, when this song also gets released to radio as the first single from the new album. The video from the barn will be out sometime in early July, which is when that song gets released to radio as the second single. I had a little bit of time at the end of the day after the Nashville shoot and so I was able to visit some more of my favorite places there before leaving Tennessee. A musician friend who I had met in California during my 2019 “Now I’m Free” tour, also happened to be in town at the same time as I was, and I was glad to have time to be able to meet up with him as well. On the 19th I started heading back to New York. I had left Nashville pretty late in the afternoon, so I wound up stopping for the night in Lexington Virginia and finished the drive home to New York on the following day. I passed through a heavy rain storm in Pennsylvania on the 20th, and while taking a detour through some back roads to get around traffic on the highway, I came as close as I’ve ever been to a lightning strike. It was real close, real big and real loud. It's pretty exciting stuff when lightning strikes right next to you like that. I'm glad to say that, in the end, I made it home ok—even with the heavier than usual rainy-Friday-night traffic on the Cross Bronx Expressway, over the George Washington and the Throgs Neck bridges, and all the way along the L.I.E. to my exit. After about 17 hours of driving, it was good to finally get home last night. Now I’m looking forward to the coming weeks, when the two singles from this album will be released along with the two music videos, the four promotional videos shorts, and all of the other things that will bring us finally, to the August 19 release date for this new album, “The Crosswinds of Kansas.” It’s Been a long ride since I started working on this album, and it’s good to be finally nearing the day when I can share it all with you. Check back here again from time to time for more news and updates. Until then, I’m sending you all so much love, and so much gratitude for your continued support. 
All the best, 
Bill S. <3






 

Friday April 15th on the beach.  


Friday evening, I was walking along the beach, chasing the nearly full moon that had appeared early in the sky. As the sun dipped lower into the tree line, the shadows on the rocky shore silently grew longer, and the air grew colder. When I reached the light I had seen up ahead, I stopped and knelt down beside the driftwood fire that some kind strangers had lit, and I felt warmth. Within that brief moment of conversation, the breeze that had begun softly blowing down the shore, got stronger, slowly at first, then more quickly and steadily faster, before it suddenly exploded into a fierce, sustained blast of wind and sand that pushed forward from behind me, and then ceaselessly rushed about in all directions. Still crouched down by the fire, I reflexively stiffened my legs and back against the blast, resisting it’s demand that I surrender my balance. My hair and clothes however, flapped in helplessly full compliance. The wind pushed forward and buffeted and shook the burning wood in front of me so hard that a river of thick smoke, sparks and embers took flight, dancing wildly down the beach towards the water. They had made their escape from the wind’s assault, but the smoke, sparks and embers found their time in the wind to be fleeting, and the overwhelmed remnants of the fire from which they were flushed out, almost likewise entirely gave up their light to the wind and the darkness. I looked directly into where the fire had been effortlessly burning tall in front of me just a moment ago, and saw instead, the wind-whipped, driftwood glowing an enchanting orange-red, while spitting out scattered yellow wisps of flickering desperation that continued to lash out at the unrelenting gusting of air that was forcibly over feeding it to extinction. I wondered for how long it would go on, and if the fire could stay lit, or if the wind would prevail and blow it completely out. And then, the wind relented and collapsed, and big bright yellow flames sprang immediately upward out of the glowing driftwood, warming the air and me again, and even more so than before. The long-stretched floating cloud of swirling spark and smoke continued drifting forward, washing over the beach and far jetty rocks for a brief moment longer, before fully dispersing and disappearing into the moonlit night. I brushed my hair from my face with my hand, rose to my feet and wondered what one might say now. But an unspoken understanding and aw became mutually apparent and patently palpable, and so it was enough to just let it be. I smiled and thanked the kind folks for the gift of warmth. Then I thanked the wind and the fire, and continued on my way chasing the moon.  Blessings to you all.  —>💙—>


Photo Credits: Jacob Blickenstaff


 

Focus 2022 03 31 

Hi All!

I'm excited to say that the mastering for my forthcoming, 4th album, "The Crosswinds of Kansas," is done! With the album art for the CDs and Vinyl also soon to be completed, I'm feeling really good about how things are moving forward and about getting that much closer to being able to share this new music with you all this summer!

On my previous two releases, "Through These Waves" (2017) and "Now I'm Free" (2019), I pretty much limited myself to just singing and playing acoustic guitar, and left the rest of the instruments to a cast of amazing artists who joined me in performing on those records. With this new record, I've stretched a little bit, playing electric guitar on three tracks, and some mandolin, dobro, bells and Native American flutes on others.

It felt really good to play electric guitar on some of these songs. It's something I've always had a passion for, but I intentionally stopped doing about ten years ago—for the sake of focusing on my songwriting rather than on my guitar soloing. It was a lot of fun getting reacquainted with my old Les Paul and 335 after all that time, and getting back to creating music with them. The rest of the electric guitar parts are covered by Juan Solorzano. I've spoken about Juan in previous posts so let me just say here that, I can't overstate how great Juan's playing is. You can hear him on “Now I’m Free” (2019) too.

Several years ago I had written a song on dobro, and while working on this album I decided it was a good time to finally record and release it--no slide work, just finger picking. It was really fun to play and it fits great with the other songs on this record. Brent Burke plays dobro on the other tracks. I've also talked about Brent before and if you haven't heard him play dobro yet, you’re really missing out. I’ve known Brent since 2015 and he’s just the best. You can hear him play on this new record, and also on “Now I’m Free” and “Through These Waves” (2017).

As for the mandolin, well, I’ve always loved the way that that instrument sounds! I bought a Gibson a few years ago and since then, I've mostly enjoyed playing around with it on the front porch, just for fun. Using it to create music in a composition, is a whole different mindset though, and I'd never attempted it before this record. Then, one day when I was in the studio, I got curious to see where it might take me if I approached playing it with more focus and creative intent. Now that it’s all said and done, I’m really happy with how it worked out. It’s me playing mandolin on just the fourth track though. I had Will Kimbrough cover the rest of the mandolin parts on the other tracks. I've mentioned Will in previous posts too. This will be the third release of mine that Will can be heard performing on.

Something else I’ve posted about before is how I took to experimenting with Native American wind and percussion instruments on some of these songs. The voices and tones of the NA instruments add such an incredibly soulful presence to these tracks and so much interest to this album.

Playing the NA flute is a relatively new experience for me. I started learning on my first flute sometime around 2018 or so. Now I have four that have been created for me (three specifically for this album). Aside from almost all of them being in different keys, they each have a uniqueness in  how their voices sing and in the character of the spiritual essence that can be invoked from within each of them.

Working  with the NA flutes eventually led me to the discovery of some very cool Native American drums and percussion instruments. Neilson Hubbard played the NA drums and percussion on this album, including a large Powwow Drum and several hand-held medicine drums and shakers made from Buffalo, Moose, Bear and Horse Hide, turtle shells, and seed pods among other things. Having these instruments available in the studio to experiment with was awesome and so much fun. I did some research into Navajo culture and some traditional beats and their significance, and attempted to stay true to them in the production of the songs that these instruments can be heard on, on this record. I wanted to keep that focus true on some of the tracks, but on some of the other tracks we wound up using them in ways that non-NA drums are usually used. There's a different tonality and essence to them, which can be felt as well as heard in a perfect balance of the unique and the familiar. For a lot of the songs, they just sounded better than traditional drums, and I feel very fortunate to have found them and to have been able to use them in the ways that we did on this record  

Having other artists add fiddle, viola, cello, Hammond B3 organ, piano, banjo and other instruments and voices, brought all of theses new songs home. And that’s where they are now, living their best lives on this album, just waiting to be heard!

To me “The Crosswinds of Kansas,” as an album of 13 songs, lands solidly in the acoustic Americana spectrum of genres, with a good mix of Bluegrass, Folk and Roots music running through it. I'm proud of what we've done on this record and I can't wait to share it with you all this summer! Having my music heard, and hearing from you all how it brings you joy and comfort, fills me with so much gratitude. I appreciate all of you and thank you  for your love and support. I invite you to check back here again for more news coming soon. Until then, be well, be safe and stay present.

With so much love…

All the best,

Bill S.

Album Update 2022 03 02! 

Hi All!

There's been a little bit of a whirlwind of things to do lately, and so it's been a while since I've posted here, but I wanted to drop in for a quick update. In my last post, I talked a little about recording this new record in New York and in Nashville, and some of the backstory and also mentioned some of the musicians who joined in for the recording sessions. I've since gone back to Nashville and had Marie Lewey and Cindy Walker add backup vocals to several of the tracks. Cindy and Marie a/k/a "The Shoals Sisters," are incomparable vocalists who have performed on recordings for Gregg Allman, Steven Tyler, Nuno Bettencourt, The Commodores, Ricky Skaggs, Faith Hill, Etta James, George Jones, Randy Travis, Kenny Chesney, Shania Twain... the list goes on. I first met them in Nashville in 2016, when they joined in on the recording sessions for my second album, "Through These Waves." It was an honor to work with them again and I just can't wait for you to hear what they do on this new record! Working with Engineer Dylan Alldredge of Skinny Elephant Recording, both while I was back in Nashville, as well as remotely after I returned home to New York, we completed the final mixes of all of the tracks and sent them off to Jim DeMain for mastering at Yes Master Studio in Nashville. While working remotely with Jim to finalize the master recordings, I've also been working on the Album Art, with Colorado Artist/Graphic Artist, Anna Berman. I'm excited with the progress we’re making and expect to take a giant leap forward towards completion, this coming weekend! I've also been talking with some venues about playing some local shows, while I'm hunkered down here in NY, keeping the album moving forward toward release. Until then, stay safe and be well and continue to check back here from time to time, for updates! All the best, Bill S.

New Album Update! 

I am so grateful to have been able to safely schedule some studio time in Nashville over the past few weeks, and to again record music there with some of the very finest musicians and technicians around. By sheer luck, all of the scheduling came together in the brief period of time when Covid and the B.1.17 mutation were on the wane, and before the Delta variant developed into the present Covid resurgence. I’m now continuing to work towards the release of this new record (which isn’t yet titled), with renewed caution. I am nevertheless, happy to say that it is nearly finished, and I am very much looking forward to being able to share it with you all soon! 

It’s been almost two years since I released my third album, “Now I’m Free” (9/19/2019). At that time, I was fully taking for granted the joys and freedom of travelling, and appearing and performing in person in venues and private homes and at radio station studios across the country. During the three-month, 11,000-mile tour for that record, and for just a few of the months that followed that tour’s end in November of 2019, I had no idea that everything would soon change so drastically and for so very long. When I think back on it now, it occurs to me that the title of that album was, at least on some level perhaps, prescient. But, as drastically as things change, we also learn, change and adapt to an equal or further degree, and for that reason, I am one-hundred percent confident that we will transcend the losses and challenges that lay behind and ahead of us, and that we will emerge from all of it, stronger than ever. 

When I left that freedom and the open road behind me in November of 2019, I was first immediately confronted with the sudden and severe decline in the health of my then 94-year-old mother. After speaking with her doctors and making some adjustments in her health care, happily her condition and quality of life greatly improved. I spent the next several months taking some rest from the road and visiting her daily (she passed a year later on Christmas day, 2020). While taking care of my mom, I was also focused on writing new music and on getting back to building the recording studio which I had been working on in my spare moments for several years. My plan was to work a little bit more on the studio and keep writing songs until I had enough for a new album, and to then return to Nashville to record them at Skinny Elephant Records. That’s the studio where I had recorded my “Now I’m Free“ album in April and May of 2019. When Covid hit in the beginning of 2020, and we all had to adjust to that “new normal,” I had to cancel my travel plans. So, I decided to use my time in lockdown here in New York, to finally finish all of the construction work that was left to do in the studio I was building, so I could start recording here until things opened up again. 

By the end of April of 2020, I had finished the studio construction and had also written enough songs for the new album. Then on May 1st, with great satisfaction, I started to record the new songs in my own newly-finished studio, right here in New York. First, I recorded 14 songs just playing my acoustic guitar and singing. In the midst of that, I also contacted a native American Flute builder in Utah, and after several discussions about the music I was intending to record and the flute making process and materials, I began designing and drawing the artwork for two flutes that I had asked him to build for me. After those flutes were finished in late 2020, I had several telephone conversations with Ty, the Navajo man who had built them. One thing led to another and a few months later Ty, with the help of his friend, Caleb and Caleb’s dad, translated the lyrics to one of my songs, from English to Navajo, in both written form and in an audio file. I spent a lot of time studying the written translation and listening to the audio file and learning and practicing how to recite my lyrics in the Navajo language. I’m going to very candidly say that this was no small task and that many times, for a very long time I felt that I would not be able to do it, or at least not do it well. I eventually spoke with Ty about how unusually difficult some of the pronunciation was for me and it was at that point that he told me that Navajo is, for several reasons, renowned to be the most difficult language for an English-speaking person to learn how to speak. I felt that, for sure, but I was committed to learning it and when he confirmed that the difficulty that I was experiencing was inherent in the language itself, it encouraged me to just work harder to get it right. After many more weeks of practicing and studying the eight Navajo verses and five choruses, we had a few more phone calls where both Ty and Caleb helped me work through and resolve the lingering questions that I had about proper phrasing and pronunciation. Language being the approximate art that it is, I don’t really have words to sufficiently describe how profoundly honored I feel to have had that experience and to be considered a friend by these new friends of mine. Because of them, I was able to record a vocal track in the Navajo language on one of my new songs, and I’m really proud to now be able to say that. 

I also composed parts for the two flutes that Ty built, and I recorded them into that same song. This was another milestone achievement for me as I had only started learning how to play the Native American Flute just a few years ago. There are some other tracks that I also added to that song, and which are pretty special in a number of ways, but I’ll save the details about that for another day. Before all of this had happened though, I had Mac, a Cherokee man from California, build another flute for me. It was actually the first of the three flutes that were made for this record. I had taken a different approach with the flute that Mac built for me—rather than create my own design for the Flute ornamentation and artwork, I instead had several conversations with Mac about the spiritual aspects of the music that I was working on and the voice that I was hoping this particular Flute would have. Then I made a few suggestions and asked Mac to surprise me with his own design. From working with Mac in this way, I have been blessed with another cherished friendship and another beautiful Native American Flute which also sounds amazing on this new record. 

My curiosity and interest in other traditional Native American instruments also grew during this time in Covid lockdown, and after some direction from Ty and a few weeks of my own research, I found a great source for them in Vermont. With that instrument maker, I auditioned several handmade Native American drums, shakers, rattles and other things via Facetime and Skype. I then had the ones that I heard make the most incredible sounds, shipped to me in New York, and later brought them with me to Nashville to record with them there. 

Finishing the build-out of my recording studio, writing the new songs for this record, designing two and having three flutes built, learning the Navajo language and creating, playing and recording all of the Flute, English, Navajo, Acoustic and Electric Guitar, Mandolin, Singing Bell and other parts that I recorded here in New York for these 14 songs, took a little longer than a year and a half. For the Nashville sessions that followed in July and August of this year, I returned to Skinny Elephant Records. I had had a phenomenal time recording my “Now I’m Free” album at Skinny Elephant in April and May of 2019, and later that year, on September 16, Billboard published their exclusive interview of me with a full album preview of that record. I put all of my heart, mind and soul into those songs and I’m proud of that record. I feel the same way about this new one. Maybe even more so. 

Being back in the Skinny Elephant studio this July and August, I felt like I was back home with family. Engineer, Dylan Alldredge took over the recording there and Neilson Hubbard, who had produced my “Now I’m Free” album there in 2019, joined me as coproducer for the Nashville sessions. Neilson is an acclaimed record producer, film director, film producer, singer-songwriter and photographer. He has produced records for Mary Gauthier, Sam Baker, Kim Richey and others, and has directed and produced films for many artists, including John Prine. Among other achievements, Neilson’s collaborations with other artists have been featured in “Private Practice,” “One Tree Hill,” “Bones” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” Dylan and Neilson have both become great friends of mine and I’m so very thankful for their friendship and the talents they have so generously shared with me on my “Now I’m Free” album in 2019 and in the making of this new record in 2021. 

Likewise, some of the musicians who played on the Nashville sessions this year, had also played on one or both of my previous two records, and it was great to be able to spend more time and make more music with them as well. I was also excited and honored to meet and record with the musicians who I hadn’t met before, but who also took time out of their busy schedules to come in and play on these new songs.

First, there’s Fats Kaplin who came in on day one and played Pedal Steel Guitar, Fiddle and Viola on about six of the 14 tracks. Fats has worked with John Prine, Jack White, Beck, Nancy Griffith, Pure Prairie League and many others. I was in the Nashville studio for 11 days this time around and was lucky enough to have Fats come back and play on some of the other songs as well, on a couple more of those days.

On the second, third and sixth days, Neilson played Drums and Mike Rinne played Electric and Upright Bass on all 14 tracks. Mike also played on my “Now I’m Free” record in 2019 and I was happy that he was able to work his schedule around to make time to play on this one too. Mike’s list of studio credits includes Willie Nelson, Rodney Crowel, Jack White, Alicia Keys, Ronnie Milsap and many more. He’s performed with Emmy Lou Harris, Rodney Crowel and others, and among other things, in 2017 he joined Miranda Lambert’s band. 

On the other days in between recording Neilson’s and Mike’s Drum and Bass parts, Danny Mitchell played Hammond B3 Organ and Piano, Matt Menefee and Kyle Tuttle played banjo, Juan Solorzano played Electric Guitar, Slide Guitar, Baritone Guitar and Lap Steel, Brent Burke played Dobro, Will Kimbrough played Mandolin, Chelsea McGough played Cello and Mia Rose Lynne sang a harmony Vocal. 

Danny Mitchell is a pianist, singer, composer and songwriter. He currently plays piano, organ and sings background vocals for Miranda Lambert. His compositions range from small chamber pieces to full symphonic works. His “Dawning of a Soul,” was performed by the National Wind Ensemble in Carnegie Hall. The Piano and B3 parts that Danny played on this new record of mine are breath-taking.   

Matt Menefee has been described as “probably the best banjo player alive.” Winner of the prestigious Winfield National Banjo Championship at age 17 and now a/k/a “MATT, TheBanjoPlayer,” Matt has recorded and performed with Be’la Fleck, Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, Ricky Scaggs, Jerry Douglas and Mumford and Sons; just to name a few. Matt’s banjo parts on this record are sublime. I need not say more. 

International Banjo Champion, Kyle Tuttle, was a member of the Jeff Austin Band, and has worked with Jamgrass legends Larry Keel, Travelin’ McCoury’s, Leftover Salmon, Greensky Bluegrass, Billy Strings and Railroad Earth. I first met Kyle six years ago at the Bomb Shelter Studio in Nashville when he played on my second album, “Through These Waves.” I’ve always loved Kyle’s playing and it was great to reunite with him and have him join in on this record after all this time. Kyle’s phrasing and note placement elevated every song that he’s played on for me. 

Juan Solorzano is a producer and multi- instrumentalist. I first met Juan in 2019 during the recording of my “Now I’m Free“ album. I immediately fell in love with his playing. His guitar technique is flawless and his phrasing is heart wrenching. After hearing him play in the studio in May of 2019, I invited him to join me on stage for my performance at the Newport Folk Festival in July of 2019. His playing on this current record surpasses even what he did on my previous release and it was good to have him bring his great talents to these new songs  

Brent Burke, is the first recipient of the bachelor of arts degree in Bluegrass, Old Time & Country Music at ETSU and has been a member of Rhonda Vincent’s band, The Rage, from since he turned 23, up until he decided to take a break from the road in December of 2019. This is the third record I’ve had the good fortune of having Brent play on. He’s simply-said, one of the best dobro players around. He’s also a good soul and a good friend. 

Will Kimbrough is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer. In the 1980’s, his college band, Will & the Bushmen, made it onto MTV. His songs have been recorded by Jimmy Buffett, Little Feat, Jack Ingram, Todd Snyder and more, and he’s collaborated with Roseanne Cash, Guy Clark, Rodney Crowel, Steve Earle, Gomez, Emmy Lou Harris, The Jay Hawks, Mark Knopfler, Buddy Miller, John Prine, Kim Richey, Mavis Staples…the list goes on. Recognized in 2004 as “Instrumentalist of the Year” by the Americana Music Association, Will has also produced albums for a great many artists. This is the third album of mine that Will has played on—mostly Mandolin this time. I’m always glad to have him on board. 

Chelsea McGough is a Cellist, composer and producer. Her compositions have been featured in films, television, social media and ad campaigns in the U.S. and abroad. I hadn’t met Chelsea prior to these sessions and am so glad she was able to come into the studio for this album. Her Cello lines are so moving on this record. I was very fortunate to be able to have her in to the studio, on rather short notice no less. 

Mia Rose Lynne, is a prolific singer-songwriter, who is well known in the festival circuit. Mia sang harmonies on my “Now I’m Free” record in 2019 and I was glad that she was able to come back into the studio to sing on this new record this year. There weren’t a lot of places for harmony on this album, but Mia’s beautiful vocal was just exactly what was needed. 

I’ve spoken a lot here about the Native American instruments that I’ve recently become fascinated with, and many of them wound up appearing on more of the songs than I had first envisioned. I’m amazed at how these instruments fit so well into the context of this record, which to my ear has a primarily Americana, Bluegrass and Folk flavor, with all of the traditional cues that one might expect to hear within those genres. But if you can imagine what a Banjo and a Fiddle paired together with a hand-made Buffalo hide Powwow drum and Bear and Moose hide shakers, accompanied by a Dobro, and a Hammond B3 played through a swirling Leslie, accented with the chiming of a Tibetan Singing Bowl and Native American Flute lines, oh yeah, and a Tambourine and a Triangle and a Piano, Viola and Cello, might sound like, then you’re on your way to experiencing how traditional genre cues can still shine through an unexpected and unusual arrangement, in ways that you’ve likely never heard before, but are glad to have discovered. It was a vision I had and it all worked really well. 

I also want to mention that, although some of this record was recorded in New York and the rest of it was recorded in Nashville, you wouldn’t know it by just listening to it and if I hadn’t told you. The Nashville sessions were intense and robust. At times we had the Fiddle, Mandolin, Dobro, Banjo, Piano, and Percussion all playing and recording live at the same time. The result is that the record has an authentically “performed live” feel to it, even though it wasn’t entirely recorded that way. You’ll just have to take my word for it, until you can hear it and confirm it for yourself. 

On the last few days in Nashville, after Nielson had finished adding the final Percussion instruments to the last track, Dylan, Neilson and I began to get them all ready for rough mixing. On day twelve, I left Nashville with rough mixes to listen to and I’m just going to come right out and say that even just the rough mixes of this record sound amazing. I feel so good about this one that I’m counting the days until I can share it with you all! Dylan has been working on the final mixes since I left Nashville and at some point in the next few weeks, I’m going to have some vocalists from Alabama add some background vocals to a couple of the songs. Then I’ll head back to Nashville for a day or so, so the final mixes can be made final. Oh yeah, and there may be a video coming soon as well! 

There’s a lot more of the backstory to this record than I’ve talked about here, and I’ll speak more about it in future posts, but for now, suffice it to say, it’s been a long, fun, humbling, educational and deeply gratifying journey that is nearly ready for you to hear soon. I thank you all for your continued support and for being a part of my soul’s journey! I appreciate each and every one of you. Stay safe and check back here from time to time as you wish and I’ll keep you posted as things keep rolling along!   

Much love, 

Bill S. 💙—>

4th Album Recording Finished In Nashville! 

Hey everybody! 

I have so much to tell you all, about the recording sessions we just had in Nashville over the past two weeks! So much goodness has happened that it can’t all be put into words, but it was put into music, so you’ll be able to hear all of it first-hand, very soon. I’ll be posting some of the details here, in the days to come, to bring you up to date. Until then, continue to be safe, be well, be kind, be yourself, be real, grow and be the love that you are. 

-B 

NEW ALBUM UPDATE! 

Hey All!

Most of you know that I've been working on my fourth album in isolation in my studio here in New York, since, when more than a year ago Covid so drastically altered what we could safely do and how we could get things done. Well, a lot has changed since then, including the recent emergence of what appears to be the solid beginnings of a cautiously enthusiastic social transition towards more in-person interaction centered around music. And, as synchronicity will have it, last night, I finished my final parts for the last of the tracks slated for this record, and with the tapping of just a few keys on my lap-top, I sent it on it's way over to my friend, Engineer/Studio Owner, Dylan Alldredge at Skinny Elephant Recording in Nashville TN. I'm excited to have finally completed my parts for this record and to now be able to safely invite the amazing Musician/Producer/friend and man of many talents, Neilson Hubbard, Dylan and more of Nashville's truly very finest musicians, to join in and help finish these recordings! My aim is to have this record ready to share with you later this year. I feel really good about this one and I think you're going to like it too. Check back here again for the latest news about the up-coming release date and other announcements about the new album. Stay safe, be well and thank you for your support through all the twists and turns of this continuing journey. Much love to you all.

Bill S. 💙—>

May 2021 

A lot has happened in a period of time, which although it has been short, nevertheless feels like an eternity. For those of you who don't already know, my Mom passed on Christmas Day, 2020. She would have been 96 this past February. She was struggling and was ready to move on for a long, very difficult time. I visited or spoke with her daily through all of it. I cherish those moments and am glad that we were all present with her at her home when she finally let go. Because of that, there is a sense of relief that her suffering had ended under the best possible circumstances. But, at the core of it all, the loss is ever present. After everyone had left and the funeral workers had come and taken her from the room where she had passed, her home--my childhood home--felt sadly empty, strange and cold. I stayed there alone for a while before shutting the lights and locking up. As soon as I closed and locked the front door and stepped off the porch, a very strong, sudden and sustained gust of wind blew from around the side of the house to where I was standing in the front, and upward into the trees. Then, just as suddenly, everything was completely still and quiet. It was powerful and overwhelming. It was not a windy day. I knew immediately that it was Mom's way of letting me know that she's not far away and as life continues, I feel her loving presence every day and I am thankful for that. Mom was one of six siblings (5 girls and 1 boy) born and raised in a "shotgun flat" in what is now known as Spanish Harlem or East Harlem in New York City. The girls all slept in one bed. My uncle had his own. Mom's journey in life was a long one, with many hardships, many challenges, many celebrations and many blessings. She is greatly loved and missed by all who knew her. On a related note, Mom's oldest and only surviving sibling, my Aunt Lillie, recently celebrated her 98th birthday! She is another beautiful Soul and light in this world. Life is precious, and so I'm taking a pause here to share only this today. I'll bring you up to date on all things music in my next post. I love you all. Stay safe and well. All the best, Bill S.

FOURTH ALBUM STUDIO SESSIONS UPDATE! 

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 breathe 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!  
—->💙  
B...

NEW RECORD IN THE WORKS! 

Hey everyone!

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. 

Bill S.