Bill Kirchen starts things off with the eleven tracks that made up his "Hammer Of The Honky-Tonk Gods" album, featuring Nick Lowe on bass and backing vocals. He mixes the energy of the title song with the emotional ballad of "Skid Row In My Mind," to give us a glimpse to his country influences. All the fun comes pouring out of the rockabilly sound of "Working Man" and the doo-wop flow of his cover of "Devil With The Blue Dress," before heading out to the country backroads for "Hear Of Gold."
Kirchen's follow-up album "Word To The Wise" features his old bandmate, Commander Cody on piano, while Nike Lowe and Paul Carrack join him on the nostalgic harmonies of "Shelly's Winter Love." Then, Bill Kirchen comes roaring back with the pounding rock rhythm of "Man In The Bottom Of The Well," which finds Elvis Costello taking on the lead vocals. The first disc wraps up with the classic country ballad of "Husbands And Wives" featuring Chris O'Connell on vocals, along with the guitar twang of "Arkansas Diamond."
The second disc continues with the songs "Word To The Wise" with Dan Hicks on acoustic guitar and vocals, and "Ain't Got Time For The Blues" featuring the beautiful vocals of Ms. Maria Muldaur. Bill Kirchen's album "Seeds And Stems" includes a more concise band that is ready to rock, as on the up-tempo numbers "Too Much Fun" and "Semi-Truck." He brings back his classic Americana sound on the guitar boogie of "Rockabilly Funeral" and the jazzy vibe of "Swing Fever." Kirchen pays tribute to one of his idols with a heartfelt cover of Bob Dylan's "It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry," before finishing the album with the Commander Cody and His Lost Airmen classic "Hot Rod Lincoln" and the fun, honky-tonk delivery of "Talkin' About Chicken."
The three bonus tracks that appear on this release are all covers, including Jimmy Donley's "Think It Over," Butch Hancock's "Oxblood" and once again, a sped up cover of Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'." To find out more about Bill Kirchen and his latest release, the 2-CD set "The Proper Years," please visit billkirchen.com.