Bill Scorzari – The Crosswinds of Kansas
This 13-cut album was recorded in Huntington, NY & Nashville & includes a handsome stitched lyric insert with color images in a 6-panel CD package. The LP was crafted by the critically acclaimed Bill Scorzari & this is his 4th independent LP. It features contemporary & Indigenous instruments.
Bill has a nice growl to his voice similar to Jon Dee Graham & John Mellencamp. The inclusion of Native American instruments colors the songs & creates a warm veneer.
“All Behind Me Now” is pop-oriented, flows well & is quite accessible but Bill’s voice is not well-suited to pop. The music is performed skillfully, pensive & poignantly – he achieves it perfectly. With his gritty voice, he should sing with even more authority & turn to more serious-driven lyrics.
The songs of The Crosswinds of Kansas (Drops Aug 19–Independent) are all well-written. I like Bill’s voice & “Ocean In Your Eyes” – that’s the ticket, that’s a great showcase. The resonance in his voice has spirit. Instead of burning kindling, he’s ignited a log. This is what Bill needs with lines like “I’m swimming for my life” – perfect for his penetrating vocals. The words he sings must be believable. It’s here. They need to be words from a voice as lived in as Bill’s.
“Not Should’ve Known,” has a key line that’s responsive to his tone in the dynamic chorus. This is a beauty. Bill’s convincing & his words are solid with sensibility in their reading.
“The Broken Heart Side of the Road,” is pure Bill. Precise, an impressive composition that’s subtle & striking. Bullseye. Fats Kaplin’s fiddle drizzles notes with great backup singing that never overpowers. Some songs were performed in an innocent old world-folk-type manner with a dash of Springsteen & Barry McGuire.
Some later songs are a bit too long. Some editing on the repetition (not the chanting words) & they’d be excellent examples of Scorzari’s storytelling & narrative approach.
The way “Inside My Heart” unravels – it’s well-intentioned but awkward in presentation.
But while the CD has its deficiencies they are minor since many tunes have brilliance
The musicians are always stellar. Brent Burke (Dobro), Chelsea McGough (cello), Cindy Richardson Walker (backing vocals), Danny Mitchell (piano/Hammond B3 organ), Eamon McLoughlin (fiddle/violin), Fats Kaplin (fiddle/violin/viola/pedal steel guitar), Juan Solorzano (slide guitar/electric guitar/baritone guitar/lap steel guitar), Kyle Tuttle (banjo), Marie Lewey (backing vocals), Matt Menefee (banjo), Mia Rose Lynne (upright bass/electric bass), Ty Allison (Navajo Chanting), Will Kimbrough (mandolin) & produced by Bill (lead vocals/Navajo vocal/ harmony/backup vocals/acoustic & electric guitar/mandolin/dobro/Native American flutes/Tibetan singing bowl bell) & Neilson Hubbard (drums/triangle/percussion/wind chimes/keyboard bass/Native American drums/plastic hands).
Photo by Jacob Blickenstaff. CD @ https://billscorzari.com/music