Bill Kirchen Poised for Breakthrough with ‘Word to the Wise’

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Bill Kirchen

March 17, 2010

Bill Kirchen – Rowdy, Rollicking Guitar Pioneer and Commander Cody Alum, Poised for a Breakthrough with New All-Star Duet Album, ‘Word to the Wise’ (Proper American, May 25)

The “Titan of the Telecaster” Behind “Hot Rod Lincoln” is Joined by A-List Colleagues Including Paul Carrack, Commander Cody, Elvis Costello, Dan Hicks, Nick Lowe, Maria Muldaur, and Others

Bill Kirchen has been hailed as the original “Dieselbilly” guitarist, as a standout singer and songwriter, and as a pioneer of rock and roll honky-tonk with the band Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen. Now Kirchen is headed for a breakout with his new album of all-star duets, ‘Word to the Wise’ (Proper American, May 25).

Full of humor, Telecaster twang, and serving up heaping portions of rock and roll, country, boogie-woogie and Western swing, ‘Word to the Wise’ features duets with nearly a dozen guest artists he’s met along the way (see track list below). It includes masterpieces old and new, such as Roger Miller’s classic “Husbands and Wives,” a new Dan Hicks/Bill Kirchen co-write (the title track, “Word to the Wise,”) and Kirchen’s powerful rocker, “Man in the Bottom of the Well,” sung unforgettably by Elvis Costello.

“I wanted to do an album with people I share a musical connection with,” Bill says. “I’ve worked with all of these people: I recorded with Nick Lowe, I’ve gigged with Elvis Costello, and with Maria Muldaur and Dan Hicks back in the day.”

‘Word to the Wise’ also features a new classic with Commander Cody on piano: “I Don’t Work That Cheap” is a surrealistic romp through history that recalls the psychedelic spirit of Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” concluding with the memorable line, “You can’t pay me what I’m worth – I don’t work that cheap.”

Justly famous for his indelible Telecaster sound on “Hot Rod Lincoln,” his 1972 Top 10 hit with Commander Cody, Bill Kirchen has been everywhere over the span of a 40-plus-year career: he was a founding member of the legendary Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen; he released eight critically acclaimed solo albums; he toured internationally with Nick Lowe and has performed with the likes of Doug Sahm, Gene Vincent, Elvis Costello, Dan Hicks, Emmylou Harris, Bruce Hornsby and Link Wray.

The album, produced and recorded by Paul Riley at Specific Sound, London, includes the tracks:

Bump Wood
Shelly’s Winter Love (with Nick Lowe and Paul Carrack)
Man in the Bottom of the Well (with Elvis Costello)
I Don’t Work That Cheap (with Commander Cody on piano)
Time Will Tell The Story
Husbands And Wives (with Chris O’Connell)
Open Range (with Kevin “Blackie” Farrell)
Arkansas Diamond
Word To The Wise (with Dan Hicks)
Ain’t Got Time For The Blues (with Maria Muldaur)
Valley Of The Moon (with Norton Buffalo on harmonica)

An additional track featuring Jorma Kaukonen will be made available as exclusive bonus content (details to be announced).

Critical acclaim for Bill Kirchen:

“The folks who make Fender Telecasters ought to stop what they’re doing and cut Bill Kirchen a fat check.” – Mike Joyce, Washington Post

“A guitar god” – All Music Guide

“An American treasure” – Vintage Guitar Magazine

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For more information on Bill Kirchen, please contact Regina Joskow ( or Mark Satlof ( at Shore Fire Media (718) 522-7171.