2/4/2024: New Album Update!! 

Hi Folks!

When I last posted about the progress of my forthcoming (5th) album just a few weeks ago, I was gearing up to add a second acoustic guitar part to song # 10. Since then, I recorded that new part on an acoustic baritone guitar, and I am really excited about how it turned out! The main acoustic guitar and the baritone blended in a very magical way. It's the kind of musical interaction that you hope for but aren't always sure you will achieve, so I'm really glad that I made that choice for the second guitar part! After that, I moved pretty quickly through songs 11 and 12, and just today I finished recording song 13 as well! I wasn't hurrying, though. I just achieved what I wanted to, in a relatively short time, while moving forward with it. As of now, all 3 of those songs are “singer-songwriter” arrangements (an acoustic guitar track and a vocal track). I do have additional instruments in mind for them, and for the other songs as well, but I'm going to have other artists join me on these recordings a little later, to play those. There have been many, many times that I've felt ready (and eager) to bring in those other artists and to finish up this release with just the songs that I've recorded so far, but I do have 5 more songs that I want to record before I transition into that next phase of this process. When I've finished with those, I'll have 18 songs ready for the remaining instruments to be added. That's enough for a double album, or two separate album releases, or one album and a bunch of singles! I'm not sure yet, which it might be. But I am really happy to say that I'll be starting song 14 today, and that there will be just 4 more to do after that! Check back here in the days ahead if you're so inclined, and I'll let you how things are coming along with the album and will also bring you up to date with the latest news! As always, I am truly grateful for your interest in my music and for your support. With so much love and gratitude, I wish you all the best.

-Bill S.

Old Releases with New Reviews 

Hi All!

I was excited to have my 4th album release, “The Crosswinds of Kansas” (2022), get reviewed by both Robert Christgau and Tom Hull in July 2023 and November of 2023, with each giving the album a great review and an “A minus” rating (and resulting in increased CD and Vinyl sales on BandCamp and on my website “Store” page)! I wasn't sure if Tom Hull was aware of my prior releases, so I forwarded a CD copy of my second and third albums, Through These Waves (2017) and Now I'm Free (2019) to him in December 2023 and, just yesterday, I was again pleasantly surprised to learn the he reviewed them both (as well as my 2015 debut album, Just the Same) in the “Old Music” section of his Sunday, January 15, 2024 Tom Hull-On The Web / Music Week reviews Blog!! The “B Plus" rating for my 2015 Debut and the two “A Minus” ratings and great reviews he gave to TTW and NIF were preceded by this lead-up paragraph:

“Also, note that three A- albums this week were in Old Music, but not very old. The tip for the South African record came from Christgau's January CG [Consumers Guide].  The other two came in the mail well after I gave an A- to Bill Scorzari's The Crosswinds of Kansas (again, following up on a Christgau tip). Having the CDs helped, but only because the albums were so good in the first place.”

You can read the full reviews here.

I am so very thankful for these further affirmations of the human connection that I've sought to achieve through my music, and so very grateful for the opportunity to continue to be fully engaged in pursuit of this lifelong dream. 

With so much love and gratitude, I thank you all for your support and for being connected here with me in community and music.

Stay tuned for more news to come!

All the best,
Bill S.

New Album Update: Song # 10 and beyond 

                                                                                                                                                         Zephyr Chimes

Hi Folks!

Over the past few weeks, I've been working on the recording of song #10 for the new album, and I just finished in the studio for the day/night, tonight. I had recorded the acoustic guitar track and vocal track for this song a while back and, more recently I've been adding “Zen Bells” and “Zephyr Chimes” to it for some subtle, atmospheric parts that have been incredibly fun to create. I bought these instruments a few years ago, during the height of the Covid pandemic, because I loved the unique sounds that they made, and I did so without knowing whether I'd ever write a song that would call for adding them into an arrangement with other instruments. I mostly just liked the way they sounded and wanted to play with them! They definitely are not heard on commercial albums that I'm aware of – I can't think of even one – and it's taken until now (three years after I bought them) for me to have written a song on which I feel confident that it makes musical sense for me to explore what they can add to the song arrangement, and specifically in an "Americana Music" context. Honestly, before I began trying, and more so before I wrote this particular song that I'm working on now, it seemed like it might be a challenge to make it work. But, as it turns out, it's been an amazingly gratifying experience of experimentation and discovery. On some level, I guess it would be ok to say that the sounds that can be made with these instruments are “esoteric,” but that might distract from the simplicity and lightness of what they offer sonically, musically, and from how much fun and easy they are to play, as well as from the unencumbered qualities that drew me to them. That said, though, I guess one of the reasons why I'm so much enjoying recording with them is that I've been finding ways to create unexpectedly complex and lush rhythmic and tonal textures with them, and, given their simplicity and pervasive “randomness,” I'm actually surprised at how easily they lend themselves toward that aim. So, over the past week or so, I've been immersed in a happy, deep dive into recording this new song with these instruments. They've just drawn me into the song so much, as the sounds that I've found in them have, in turn, been finding their places in the song in ways that have made these “unusual” instruments, “obvious” choices for this composition. Tomorrow, I plan to add a second acoustic guitar part to the song. I was playing along to the playback at the end of tonight's session to see if it would work with what's already recorded and… it fits. It all fits just right, and I am really excited to get back to it tomorrow to see where it will go from here. I just wanted to take a minute tonight to thank you all for your support, and for being present here as I am finding my way to bringing these songs forward for you to hear and share. I am so very grateful for you. Please continue to check back here from time to time for the latest news and updates if you are so inclined.

With so much love and gratitude,
Bill S.

12/6/23: New News and New New-Album News!! 

Hi Folks!

A lot has happened since my last post here. Let's talk about the music... 

First, I just want to mention how exciting it's been to have my 2022 release, The Crosswinds of Kansas, reviewed in late 2023 by both, Robert Christgau and Tom Hull, with each of them giving the album an “A-” rating and spiking album sales. Tom Hull also added it to his 2023 Year-End “Best Non-Jazz Albums” list! Everyone involved in the making and releasing of this album, which I began recording in early 2020, put so much into it, and it's very gratifying to see it is still being noticed and mentioned with continuing praises in the present, present. Check out the “Press” page on this website for the Christgau and Hull (and other) full reviews.

For the new album I'm working on now, I completed my parts for song # 9, “Open Door,” a few weeks ago and I'm really happy with how it sounds. So far, it's a vocal track and an acoustic guitar track in a singer-songwriter style. It's tempting to let it be just that, and say that it's finished, because it could be, but I think it's going to be too tempting to add maybe a cello part and some light percussion to it when I bring other musicians on board to finish the album after all of my parts are done on these songs. As always, time will tell! I've also begun song 10, which as of today, is also a vocal track and an acoustic guitar track in a singer-songwriter style, but I've added a series of “Zen Bells” (that's what they're called!) to this one, and when I've finished editing those parts, I plan to add some “Zephyr Chimes” as well. These are unique sounding instruments that I'm using for this album and for the first time, and they will be very subtle elements of this song while the vocal and acoustic guitar will remain at the forefront and heart of it. Going beyond that, I may add a Native American Flute part or two but played in a very harmonically resonant way for contrast. Perhaps something else will come to mind. I'll have a better idea of where I might want it to go when I've finished the Zen Bells and Zephyr Chimes parts. I used a torrefied Gibson 1942 Banner Southern Jumbo Murphy Lab acoustic guitar for song # 9 and a torrefied 1942 Banner Gibson Custom Shop J45 Acoustic for song # 10. I've really taken a liking to these two guitars. They sound so good on what I'm writing and recording now, and I've found myself taking them out for live performances more than anything else recently. I'll be pressing on with song 10 today. Check back here from time to time for the latest news and updates on the recording of this album if you are so inclined. I look forward to sharing more about it with you in the days and weeks to come. 

With so much gratitude and love,
Bill S.

Album #5 Update - October 18, 2023! 

Hey Folks!

After my recent house concert in Waco, Kentucky and attendance at AmericanaFest in Nashville this September, I took a drive to Seneca, South Carolina for some lakeside r & r. The peace and solitude there brought on some spontaneous songwriting which may or may not find its way onto the new album that I've been working on. I've got so many songs to record for it already, it might be a challenge to decide how many, and which ones, will make it onto this release, but, like everything else, that will all get sorted out in its own time.

So, as of today, and since my last post here, I've finished my parts for the 7th and 8th songs, “All This Time” and “From Your Heart,” for this album, and just this morning I started recording the ninth song, “Open Door.” I used a nylon string, “Classical" guitar for “All This Time” and a Gibson Custom-Shop Southern Jumbo for “From Your Heart.” Both of these songs have just acoustic guitar and vocal tracks so far, and will likely stay pretty sparse, production wise, when they're done. I expect that the same will be true for “Open Door” as well. In fact, I believe that most of the rest of the songs that I plan to record for this album, will also lean more toward the “Singer-Songwriter” side of production than the “Full Band” arrangements that some of the earlier-recorded songs will have. I'm excited about the contrast and variety that the two approaches will bring to this album and I'm really enjoying putting it all together. With an ever-developing vision of how the remaining tracks will fit in with the ones I've already recorded, my aim is to maintain aesthetic continuity in the listening experience throughout the album, even as the production varies significantly from song to song. So far, it's been working out really well. 

I feel blessed and grateful to be in this space, where I can focus on the heart of these songs and record them in a way that I believe best tells the stories within each of them, and I'm very much looking forward to being able to share them all with you when this album is finished. I invite you to check back here again when you're so inclined, so I can bring you up to date again as I continue to move forward with the recording of this album.

With so much love and gratitude,
Bill S.

New Album Update! 

Hi Folks,

Since my last post here, I've been working on the 6th song, “Did We Tie,” for the new album, and at this point in time I'm happy to be able to say that this song is also already nearly finished, and it's been so much fun creating it! First, I used a nylon-string, “classical” guitar for the main guitar track, then I added the main vocal track. Next, I recorded a second vocal track – sung an octave higher than the first – and then followed that with an acoustic piano track. It's been a long while since I've performed a piano part on any of my recordings. We'd have to go all the way back to my debut album for the time before this one. I've been very fortunate to have some very talented artists play piano on my subsequent albums, but it has been a long time for me and I really do enjoy composing on the piano, so I wanted to do it on my own for this song. The piano is an instrument that evokes a very different mindset for me, than playing a guitar does. Everything is laid out right in front of you, very orderly, with all the notes right there in a repeating pattern to just push at. The ideas just seem to flow very quickly and smoothly for me, from that setup and I'm really happy with how the piano track came out on this song. 

All of that was most of what I had intended to record in my studio here, for this song, before getting set to start the next. But then I decided to also add some Latin percussion (a Claves track), which I had originally planned to have someone else do but wound up giving it a go myself. I had a lot of fun figuring out the best technique for getting the sound I was looking for from this instrument – which appears to be a very simple percussion instrument, and in some respects is, but in others, is less so than you might first imagine. Now that it's finished, I love how the song sounds with this newly added part! It feels so good when a song's vision starts taking shape, and the more parts that I can record to get me closer to completing that vision in a recording, the better I feel about the progress I'm making in getting that much closer to being able to release this new album for you all to hear! After the Claves part, I wasn't planning on added any other instruments on my own, but when I listened back to the recording, I was inspired to also add a Tenor guitar part. This is something I hadn't originally envisioned for this song at all, but I started composing and recording it today (Tuesday, 8/29), and am really happy that I did! Once I finish the Tenor guitar track, it will be time to start recording the seventh song for this album. That will put me at just about the half-way mark for the number of songs that I'm hoping to include on this record, and that is such a great feeling!  

I look forward to sharing more of the progress of the recording of this album with you in the days and weeks to come. I greatly appreciate your interest and support! Check back here soon for more news and updates! With so much love and gratitude…

All the best!
Bill S.

 

July 27, 2023 update on the recording of the new album! 

Hi Folks!

So, I've finished the banjo track for “So Much to Say on Rainy Days” (the fifth song that I've started recording for my fifth album) and I'm really excited about how it's turned out so far! With a well-worn, 1940's Gibson Acoustic for the guitar track, strummed behind the vocal, and this lonesome banjo part taking a featured role, this song is already exceeding what my expectations were for it. You never know which ones are going to soar when you first start putting them together in the studio, until they do. This one found an updraft early on, and it just keeps climbing. 

When I finished the banjo track today, I started thinking about which other instrument(s) I might want to add to it next. After trying out a few, I found the sound that I was looking for in an old wooden dobro that was hanging on a side wall, behind some drum and percussion instruments. It's the perfect complement to what's already in the mix, but, I'm going to wait and ask an old friend to play this part for me, because, well, he plays dobro better than anyone I've ever heard. Some of you know who I'm talking about and if you don't, it wouldn't be too hard to figure out before the part gets done. Either way, I'll bring you up to date on all of that once we get to it (which, sigh, will be a good while from now). 

Until then, I'm gearing up to begin recording the next song, “Did We Tie?” I'll be starting off with a nylon-string, classical guitar for this one. All of the parts are already worked out in my mind so, I can already tell you that it will also have acoustic piano and a string section when it's done. Sometimes you just know. Now I just need to get all of those parts recorded.

I usually, but don't always, start with a fresh set of strings when recording guitars. The strings on the classical guitar I'll be using for this song were literally decades old and very clearly showing it. So, there was no question that I'd have to restring it to get it to record well. It had a “normal tension” set (La Bella, I think) on it, but I wanted a different feel for the part that I'm going to play, and a thicker/less-bright, softer sound for this recording, so I swapped them out for a “hard tension” set. When restringing “steel” string guitars (almost always phosphor bronze for my acoustics, and nickel for my electrics) it's easy to stretch the strings, so that they'll stay in tune. But for nylon strings, especially the “hard” and “extra hard” tension sets, it can take weeks for the strings to stabilize. Planning ahead, I changed out the old normal tension La Bellas with a new D'Addaio Pro.Arte, hard tension set (nylon core / silver plated wound) a few weeks ago, so that they'd be good to go by the time I was ready to start recording this next song. Now that that time has come, I'm happy to say that I really like the way these strings feel and sound! Which is a good thing because, if I didn't, changing them again would have meant having to wait a few more weeks for a new set to stabilize. I haven't tried any “extra hard” tension sets yet but am curious about how they sound and feel--which is something I can look forward to experimenting with in the future. As the story goes, these hard tension strings seem to be “just right.” 

Tomorrow I'll start recording the guitar and vocal parts, and then move forward with tracking the acoustic piano part before gathering up some friends for the string section, and for the bass and percussion tracks. It feels so good to be starting this next song, which – being the sixth one so far – means that I'm nearly half-way through the songs that I have in mind for this album, and that much closer to being able to share them all with you. 

I am so grateful for your support. 

Check back here again soon and hear what's happening next! 

With so much love and gratitude,
Bill S.

 

July 10, 2023 update on the making of my 5th album. 

7/10/23

We’ll, I’ve finished the acoustic guitar and vocal parts for song five, for the new album, and it’s most definitely calling for some banjo now. I wound up with this one after I bought a Fender resonator a while back, from Pro Music in Fairbanks, Alaska. It sounded great at first, but after a while the neck started to separate from the body — which is pretty much always a bad thing. When I contacted Fender about it, they told me they had discontinued that model resonator and they very graciously offered to replace it with any other Fender acoustic instrument of my choosing. I needed a banjo at the time, so I asked if it could be this one for the trade. I shipped the resonator to them (they said they were going to shred it), and they sent me this sweet banjo. I’ve had it for a number of years now and it’s a really great instrument. I’m getting set up to use it to track some banjo for song five today, and still feeling the Fender love.

 

June 29, 2023: ALBUM 5 UPDATE! 

Hi Folks!

It's been a while since I've checked in with you all here, and since I've finally found a moment for slowing down to take a short break, I wanted to catch you up and talk a little about the new album I've been working on--which is mostly the reason for the delay until now, in posting here again. 

I started recording the first song (“Endgame”), for the new album, around August of last year. Typically, I'll start a recording with an acoustic guitar and vocal part for the “basic tracks,” and then start building onto the song from there. After finishing those tracks for this song, I began to search for a special electric-guitar sound to add to the arrangement. I had something very specific in mind mood-wise and texturally, and I had a general idea of what equipment I might need to use to achieve it, but all of that was just the very beginning of the process of actually creating/producing the sound and then testing it out to hear if it was going to work the way that I had envisioned and hoped it would, with what I had already recorded. I spent several days just experimenting with different guitars, amplifiers and effects pedals and then, after narrowing down the choices, I spent several more days adjusting knobs and parameters to zero-in on the sound that I was trying to create. I eventually wound up using a Gibson 335 electric guitar, with a stereo signal from the effects board feeding a Fender Princeton and a Paul Reed Smith Archon amplifier, both set for very clean, non-distorted sounds. I went with using the stereo signal into those two separate amps, to enhance the gently swelling, spacious and ethereal sounds being generated from the Leslie-simulator effects pedal (the one I landed on after trying out several for this part) and which happily had a stereo output. I attached an expression pedal to the Leslie simulator--to be able to vary the speed and intensity of the effect while playing and recording the new part--and added a volume pedal and treble booster into the signal path for some more subtle tweaking of the sound options. I gave the set up a few test-runs and adjusted the parameters some more, until I felt like the combination of equipment and their settings provided me with the right palate of sounds to work with, and for me to be able to make something musically moving happen. Since specific sounds can create specific feelings, it was really important to me to reproduce and create that sound I wanted for this song, as closely as possible to how I was hearing it in my head, so that everyone listening could also hear it as I was imagining it to be and could feel what I was feeling and how I wanted the song to feel. That connection--the making and sharing of it--that's what music is all about for me. It's what I hope for and strive for, and it was probably more than a week, and maybe two, before I finally felt that I had achieved the sound that I was hoping to add to this song. In the end, it was well worth the time and effort. After creating the sound that I wanted, with the equipment on hand, I got to work (read: great fun!) composing the electric guitar part that I wanted to add to the vocal and acoustic guitar tracks. I spent nearly another two weeks coming up with different ideas and selecting the ones that I liked the most to complete this part of the song, which, aside from the vocal part, is a central point of focus in the recording. The challenge was to have two equal focal points (vocal and electric guitar) that added something musically interesting to each other, without one distracting from the other. Finding the right balance was the key to unlocking the magic, and I worked on this song from early August of 2022 well into September of 2022 turning that key. After completing the electric guitar part in September, my attention got diverted to other callings, including a road trip to Nashville for AmericanaFest 2022, which then detoured me to Colorado for some mountain time and then took me back home, where I decided to plant some trees--about 20 of them. It was something that's been on my “too-due” list for a long while, and with the weather being so mild so late in the year (2022), I saw it as the perfect time to get to it and to get it done. So that's what I did, and it feels good to be able to watch them growing! When I got back to recording again in January of this year, I found that, working through the process of patient preparation and experimentation for the first song for this record, had somehow carried over and set the pace for the recording of the songs that followed--three others so far, each of which I've easily spent just as much, if not even more time and effort on already.

The second song, “Time Is a River Now,” also has electric guitar accompanying the acoustic guitar and vocal tracks, but it's definitively a straight-up rock-guitar sound. I used an Ernie Ball/MusicMan EVH Signature guitar, with a treble booster, a volume pedal and a Sabadius “FunkyVibe” (Filmore Model) Univibe Clone, with an expression pedal attached (to vary the speed of the Univibe effect while playing and recording), running through a vintage Marshall JMP-1 pre-amp and a vintage Mesa Boogie 2-Ninety stereo power amp, powering a full Marshall stack! This set up makes such an incredibly expressive and satisfying sound to play with, and I had an absolute blast recording this part! It's funny, because it all started out as a folk song, and then, well, something turned a corner in the making and suddenly the song “went electric,” with eight, 12" Celestian Greenbacks weaving electric guitar riffs into and around the Folk acoustic guitar and vocal tracks. It will be a bit of time yet, before this album can be released, so, while I am sad to have to wait to share it with you, I can mention now that, if you enjoy hearing the interplay of the acoustic and electric guitars when the song is released, even one quarter as much as I enjoyed playing and recording them, then you're gonna really love this song! Many of the earlier years of my musical path were devoted to the electric guitar, and it's so much fun to be able to draw buckets of water from that well, to complete the songs that I'm writing now. This one was really fun!

For the third song, “It Keeps Me On The Run,” I leaned more on Folk and Roots fundamentals, adding some understated mandolin to the acoustic guitar and vocal tracks. I had experimented with adding another guitar part on top of that, but later decided that the song didn't need any more guitar parts, and sounded better with a simpler, more stripped-down arrangement, and so I left it as it was/is. My plan is to have other artist friends add bass, drums and other instruments (such as piano, organ, pedal steel guitar, dobro, banjo, fiddle/strings, and/or whatever else might come to be) to some of the 12 or so songs that I have in mind for this album, after I've finished recording all of my parts for all of them. That's a process that's worked well for me in the past and that I hope to begin sometime toward the end of this year or in early 2024.

The fourth song that I've recorded so far, is titled, “And, So (Deep Into the Dark)." It's a song I wrote some years ago and it leans to the Americana side of things. Presently, it has just an acoustic guitar and vocal track--which I finished just last week. I'm thinking acoustic piano and a string section, along with bass and drums, will be great additions to this one, and I'm looking forward to getting those parts worked out and recorded later down the line as well.

I love how these first four songs have already turned out and I can't wait to get started on the rest! I can already tell that this album is going to be something really special. Overall, it will likely have just two, or maybe three songs that feature electric instruments, with the others being more in line with the style of my previous records, while still offering something new and unexpectedly different from what you've heard from me in the past. I've got at least eight more songs written and ready to start recording for it, and since part of the fun of recording is in the doing and another part is in the seeing and hearing where you wind up when it's all said and done, I'm excited to get back to it. Wherever it ultimately takes me to, the process feels so good already. I'm also excited about the songs themselves and the fact that with no looming time pressure or planned imminent deadlines ahead, there's lots of space for fun and thoughtful, creative composition to enjoy and make them shine. 

For now--for the rest of this week--I'll be taking a little R & R on this North Carolina beach. Since my attention is going to be focused on getting this record recorded when I get back home to New York, my live shows will be few and far between for a short while. I've got a house concert in KY coming up in September, 2023 though, just before AmericanaFest, and I have visions of a full-on tour to see through for 2024, after that. Check back here from time to time, and I will keep you posted as things keep moving forward on this new record. As always, I so appreciate your love and support, and am looking forward to seeing you out on the road again soon!

With much love,
Bill S.

"CATSKILLS AIR" TV INTERVIEW 

Hey Folks!

I recently had the great pleasure of speaking with Artie Martello, via Zoom, about my fourth album, The Crosswinds of Kansas, the law, and some other things as well, including the new album that I'm currently working on. I even got to play a couple of songs live for the interview! 

You may know Artie from “The Catskills Cafe” radio show which airs every Sunday from 2- 4pm on WIOX FM 91.3 (streaming at wioxradio.org ) , "Mostly Folk" radio, now broadcast weekly on Saturday: http://www.mostlyfolk.org , Catskills Air (a local tv station on Margaretville TV cable channel 1 www.catskillsair.com ) or some other things that he also does. I first met Artie at the WIOX radio station in Roxbury, NY, back in 2019 while I was on the road for my “Now I'm Free” tour. It was great meeting and talking with him live on the air then, and as usual, it was great speaking with him again this past March 9th, 2023 for this recorded TV interview. 

This interview aired for the first time on “Catskills Air” on March 11th, and is still in rotation there. You can also watch it at this link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/gq74w0ubyhg5wb4/MF_Bill%20Scorzari.mp4?dl=0 I hope you enjoy it!

Thanks for stopping by! And, remember to check back here again from time to time for the latest news, including updates about the recording of my new (presently un-named) album!

All the best,

Bill S.