“…singer-songwriter Bill Scorzari transcends titles like songwriter or poet. He catapults past categories into a dark ruminative and ultimately life-affirming realm where folklore, memories, pain, prayer, and incantation meet.”
- March/April 2020 issue, Acoustic Guitar Magazine
Bill Scorzari is a New York based singer-songwriter. Since 2014, he has independently released three albums including, "Just the Same” (2014), “Through These Waves” (2017) and “Now I’m Free” (2019), all to critical acclaim. His forthcoming, 4th album, “The Crosswinds of Kansas,” is anticipated for release on August 19, 2022.
Bill Scorzari's songs explore the depths of the human condition and, with a life-affirming embrace, point a way through. His music is captivating and nuanced, his lyrics deliberate, intimate, compelling, and his voice enigmatic, unmistakable. Merging the familiar with the uncanny, Bill's vocal style is at times akin to spoken word, and yet remains melodic even in those extremes. That resonant and varied vocal foundation is the platform from which he narrates stories that will remind you of your own. Peruse the reviews to date and you will find comparative descriptors such as, "...perhaps Dylan or Townes could go toe to toe...," "...a modern-day Rod McKuen," "...you might want to think about Tom Waits a little...," "...Tom Waits or Malcom Holcombe, Scorzari's voice is in that neighborhood but still stands apart...," "...a little less sandpapery than Dave Van Ronk's..," "...the spoken poetry...that Sam Baker has perfected...," "...Kris Kristofferson...," "...Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young...," "Artists that have this ability are rare—Waits, Dylan, Cohen, and today’s John Moreland and Jason Isbell..."
Since 2014, Bill has performed at venues and terrestrial radio stations across the country and completed two national tours (“Through These Waves” in 2017 and “Now I’m Free” in 2019). He has opened for such artists as Billy Strings, Whiskey Myers, Big Country and more, and has shared bills with Sarah Jarosz, Sam Outlaw, The Dustbowl Revival, Tall Tall Trees, Seldom Scene, Frank Fairfield, Tom Marion, Zak Sokolow, Jonah Tolchin, Jenni Lyn Gardner (Della Mae), Jeff Scroggins and Colorado, Twisted Pine, and many more. Bill's performances of note include AmericanaFest 2016, and Newport Folk Festival 2019 for the “For Pete’s Sake” program curated by Chris Funk of The Decemberists.
Artists who have performed in the studio with Bill, and who can be heard on Bill’s records, include Joachim Cooder, Chris Scruggs, Kim Richey, Laur Joamets, Marie Tomlinson Lewey and Cindy Richardson Walker a/k/a "The Shoals Sisters," Matt Menefee, Kyle Tuttle, Erin Rae, Neilson Hubbard, Will Kimbrough, Eamon McLaughlin, Fats Kaplin, Michael Rinne, Danny Mitchell, Brent Burke, Juan Solorzano, Jonah Tolchin, Danny Roaman, John Estes and more.
For those who do not yet know how Bill's story began or how it has led him to the present, we invite you to read on.
On the very day that Bill was born, his dad (a preeminent New York Trial Attorney), met with the Dean of his law-school alma mater, and together, the two friends completed a “mock” application for young Bill’s immediate enrollment as a student of the law. Following in the footsteps of his proud father and role model, Bill later officially applied for admission to that very same law school, graduated, passed the New York State bar exam and, at the age of 27, embarked upon his own accomplished career as a New York trial attorney. Many years later, in 2012, when confronted with the devastating passing of his Dad, and with a new awareness of the fleeting nature of life and time, Bill felt the pull to refocus his energies and devote more of himself to his passion for creating and performing music--the very same passion that had ignited when Bill had received his first guitar as a gift from his Mom and Dad at the age of 8. Although his parents quickly discovered that 8-year-old Bill was thoroughly uninterested in learning beginner guitar-lesson songs and scales, they saw the passion that drove him to take that guitar into his own hands and figure out, on his own terms, how to play the sounds he was hearing on the recordings that he loved. Many of those recordings had been given to Bill by his cousin, who was 10 years older to the day, and played a Hammond B3 organ in a rock band from Queens, New York (the NY County in which Bill was born). They include the Beatles/Abbey Road, The Who/Live at Leeds, Simon and Garfunkel/Bridge Over Troubled Water, The Rolling Stones/Hot Rocks, Grand Funk Railroad/Closer to Home, Deep Purple/Machine Head and many others. Bill eventually formed his own band with some of the older kids in the neighborhood, which in turn led him to playing his first club gig at the age of 13. Bill's passion for music continued to grow as he explored different genres throughout his childhood, high school, college and law school years. In 2008, by day, Bill was practicing law as a trial attorney in his own law firm, and by night, he was performing with a "Classic Rock" band that included some of the original "kids" from the old neighborhood band. In 2010, he stumbled upon a Live-at-Paste recording of Justin Townes Earle performing “Mama’s Eyes.” It was a deeply defining experience, the kind of life-altering discovery that you hear people speak of as being that moment when "everything changed."
And everything did change. Completely. In the six years that followed, Bill found himself writing songs--acoustic songs, folk songs, "Americana" songs. He was writing a lot of them and there was no turning back. Around 2013, with the encouragement of Bill Herman, of Paradiddle Records (a close friend and local recording engineer/studio owner), Bill began recording his debut album, intentionally ironically titled, Just the Same. Before the album was completed, Bill performed as a solo artist in a contest, and was chosen by popular vote, to be the opening act for "Big Country" at The Paramount Theater, in Huntington, New York (a 1500-capacity concert venue). He formed a new band to accompany him for the show, and later continued performing his songs live in New York City and in the surrounding areas, both with his new band mates and as a solo artist. In 2014, two years after Bill's Dad had passed, Bill independently released Just the Same to critical acclaim. He continued performing and writing, relentlessly developing a new career path focused on music, while spending less and less time practicing law.
2014 also found Bill at AmericanaFest in Nashville, TN, which is where he was introduced to Yep Roc recording artist, Jonah Tolchin. They became friends, performed together and later agreed that Tolchin would produce Bill's second album, Through These Waves. They met many times in 2015 and early 2016, sorting through the songs that Bill had written, and finally, in November of 2016, they met again, at the famed Bomb Shelter recording studio in East Nashville, TN. There, together with musicians Joachim Cooder, Kim Richey, Chris Scruggs, Laur Joamets, Eamon Mclaughlin, Will Kimbrough, Brent Burke, other musicians, and engineer Billy Bennett, they recorded, mixed and mastered Through These Waves, in just 14 days. The album was released on March 10, 2017, a 10,000-mile national tour began, and Through These Waves jumped straight to #1 on the Americana Music Association’s Most-Added-Radio-Stations Top-50 chart, in its first week. The album later also landed on many Top-Albums-of-2017 lists, including Folk Alley and Elmore Magazine. 2017 was a good year and many more would follow.
No Depression said, "Bill Scorzari is a force. His songwriting is stellar, his picking above par and his voice fits his songs perfectly." “Tom Waits or Malcolm Holcombe... Scorzari’s voice is in that neighborhood but still stands apart. …thoughtful, cinematically shaped songs that continue to resonate after repeated listens. Yes, this is a 'must hear' for singer-songwriter aficionados." - Elmore Magazine. One such 'aficionado,' WFUV's John Platt, said, "Bill Scorzari has a lived-in voice that says, 'Listen to these songs. They spring from the earth and the ocean with an open heart and the wisdom of experience.’" “Artists that have this ability are rare—Waits, Dylan, Cohen, and today’s John Moreland and Jason Isbell….” -Lonesome Banjo Chronicles.
Bill's path forward was clear, and numerous performances followed as he continued to write new music and to wind down his practice of law.
The following year, in early 2018, Bill and Artist/Producer Joe Henry, were introduced, and over the coming months, the two discussed Bill's most recent compositions and the prospect of Joe Producing Bill's third album, Now I'm Free. As Bill's 11,000-mile national tour in support of the album, was scheduled to start in late July of 2019, they planned to start recording the album before year's end, 2018. The availability of the guest musicians who Joe wanted to bring into the recording sessions, was confirmed, and the studio and hotels were booked. Then came the devastating news of Joe's cancer diagnosis and need for treatment. The recording sessions were cancelled and rescheduled several times through the early months of 2019, after which it was agreed that Joe's energies would be best devoted to healing, rather than to continuing to try to fully engage in the recording project. With Joe's blessing and gracious offer to assist in finding a replacement to fill the Producer's chair in Joe's absence, Bill joined forces with Artist/Producer, Neilson Hubbard.
Now I'm Free, was Produced by Hubbard and recorded by Engineer Dylan Alldredge at Skinny Elephant Recording in Nashville, Tennessee, in April and May of 2019. It includes performances by Erin Rae, Will Kimbrough, Eamon McLoughlin, Michael Rinne, Juan Solorzano, Hubbard and more. The album was Mastered by Jim DeMain at Yes Master Studios, also in Nashville, in June of 2019. In the following month, the tour for the album release began with Bill's July 26th, 2019, performance at Newport Folk Festival in the "For Pete's Sake" program curated by Chris Funk of The Decemberists. Guitarist, Solorzano, Cellist, Jonathan Preddice and Upright Bass player, Charlie Meunsch accompanied Bill for the landmark performance.
The 15-song, Now I'm Free album was Premiered by Billboard with an exclusive interview by Gary Graff on September 16, 2019, and was released mid-tour, on September 20, 2019. Singles from Now I'm Free were also Premiered by The Bluegrass Situation (“Treat Me Kind”) and Americana Highways (“It All Matters”). Billboard’s Gary Graff says, “Now I’m Free,” is “delicately nuanced” with “detailed arrangements.” "...Scorzari had good reason to enjoy the recording process this time around." The album performed well in the charts (coming in at #15 on the NACC Folk Chart and #8 on the Weekly Top 50 Alternative Folk Album Chart, with the single "Over Again" reaching #4 on the Weekly Top 50 Alternative Folk Song Chart), and later made its way onto many "Best of 2019" lists, including Americana Highways and Making a Scene. Now I'm Free can be heard at: → https://nowimfree.hearnow.com
Producer, Neilson Hubbard said, "Bill tears himself open on these 15 songs and leaves it all out there in plain sight. He is an open book delivering a record of astonishing intimacy... and the gravel and whispers in his voice carry a true knockout punch."
Multi-instrumentalist, Will Kimbrough, who appears on the record, said, "... This is a fine record indeed."
Excerpts from the album's many press reviews include the following:
"I love this album. I’m going on record and naming 'Now I’m Free' as the best album of 2019 and I’ll stand on anyone’s coffee table and say it. ...There are poets, there are songwriters, there are painters of fine art, and there’s Bill Scorzari. The new album, 'Now I’m Free' is a bold and delicate balance of each. To say it is a thing of beauty is an understatement. ...Perhaps Dylan or Townes could go toe to toe, but my money’s on Scorzari." - Making A Scene, By Viola Krouse. "Bill Scorzari scores one of 2019's finest... There may be a handful of songwriters as good as Scorzari but no one else could deliver these stunning songs. It’s even deeper and every bit as good as his last one. Bigger names will get more recognition but Scorzari’s getting there. He did play the Newport Folk Festival this year. He has my vote for Americana Album of the Year." Glide Magazine - By Jim Hynes. “This new album simply blows me away, I must say…. The lyrics are extremely important and the voice, that gritty kind of a voice... I tell somebody: Bill Scorzari is… you might want to think about Tom Waits a little, but better. I’m not saying that because you are sitting in front of me... I am really drawn to your voice... if someone hears this...hears this music, hears your new album, they are gonna know this is Bill Scorzari, because there’s not many people that have this voice and evoke this kind of emotion. The lyrics themselves, when you listen to the lyrics… yeah." Mostly Folk Podcast with Artie Martello - From the 8/25/2019 WIOX FM Radio Catskill's Cafe' Interview and Live Performance. “…That voice will make you pay attention to lyrics that can turn a phrase, make you think, or make you thankful that there’s someone out there to relate to.” Medium. “Scorzari sings, but his version of singing is more of the spoken poetry…that Sam Baker has perfected over the course of four albums and innumerable gigs. ... You listen and think, Yes—I’ve felt that…” Fervor Coulee. “A stunning work. Bill’s poetic lyrics are a frozen rope to the heart.” --Podcast interview on The Marinade with Jason Earle. “With a somber musical style and a hushed, gritty vocal that rises like the morning mist to mingle with Erin Rae’s grounded tones, ‘It All Matters’ is just outright pretty. Now I’m Free should be nominated for awards this year with its depth of grace and innovative tones; Scorzari taps into a nexus between the familiar and the uncanny.” --Americana Highways by Melissa Clarke -- Song Premiere of the single, “It All Matters." “Like the songs on his last CD... the ones here are all original, deeply personal and affecting; and Scorzari’s earthy vocals, which are just a bit less sandpapery than Dave Van Ronk’s, drive them home. With any luck, this guy is going places, and chances are, you’ll want to follow along for the ride.” --The Morton Report, Americana Highways, Jeff Burger. “Like singer-songwriters, Kris Kristofferson, Leonard Cohen, and Tom Waits, Bill’s raspy baritone snarls, hisses, and whispers through his heartfelt lyrics. Sometimes leaving the melody and just speaking the words, he comes off like a modern-day Rod McKuen, sweeping us up in his narratives and wringing out their plaintive content." --WTCA 106.1 FM & 1050 AM, South Bend Tribune, Kathy Bottorf. “Singer-songwriter Bill Scorzari skates in the ether with a sort of Ry Cooder ambient dream. But his voice is absolutely of the earth with its whiskey-borne rasp. Scorzari sings in the folk tradition of those who aren't afraid to jerk a few tears but doesn't mask his intentions or pull any punches. Sometimes the man gets mean.” --Rochester City Newspaper, Frank De Blasé. “Fans of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young and anyone who likes quality song writing will dig this” --Live Music News and Review, Phil Simon. “A superb singer/songwriter with an outlaw rasp and a heavy-hearted soul” --The Ripple Effect. “Wonderfully gruff and oozing with emotion and raw honesty.” --Listening Through the Lens, Rob Dickens. "Once or twice a year, an album rolls onto the scene that is quickly and widely hailed as a game-changer...musically, the real standout feature on 'Now I'm Free' is Scorzari's voice. His gruff, halting style gives his singing the kind of authentic old-timer crackliness that some male C & W and Americana artists spend half their lifetime trying to acquire--and Scorzari has it in spades... given how heart-wrenchingly sincere, complex, painstakingly crafted an album like 'Now I'm Free' is, it's definitely worth a listen... 'Now I'm Free' is not to be taken lightly. Americana-uk.com
After the "Now I'm Free" tour ended in late 2019, Bill returned to writing at home in New York, starting with the songs he had already begun creating while on the road during that tour. Ultimately, his plan was to finish writing enough songs for a new album and then return to Nashville to record them. He spent the first few months of 2020 continuing toward that end, before news of the Covid-19 pandemic began to circulate and forever changed the plans of an entire planet. With both in-person interactions and travel to Nashville no longer being an option, Bill adjusted his focus, and added to his list of immediate goals, the new task of finishing the construction of his New York recording studio, which he had been working on from time to time in prior years. During the first few months of the pandemic, Bill completed the construction of what is now known as, "First Thunder Recording Studios," in self-isolation. With social distancing and lock downs in New York and elsewhere increasing, and with no end in sight, Bill began to self-record his fourth album, The Crosswinds of Kansas, at First Thunder in May 2020 and continued recording through July of 2021. Later, when the new Covid vaccines had been approved and adopted by many, and there was a brief return to less social distancing and isolation, Bill once again drove to Skinny Elephant Recording in Nashville TN to finish the new album there. With Dylan Alldredge assuming the recording duties in August and September of 2021, the performances of guest artists Fats Kaplin (John Prine), Matt Menefee (Mumford & Sons), Michael Rinne (Miranda Lambert), Danny Mitchell (Miranda Lambert), Will Kimbrough (Emmylou Harris) Eamon McLoughlin (Emmy Lou Harris), Kyle Tuttle, Juan Solorzano, Neilson Hubbard and more, were added to the recordings that Bill had made in New York. The final recording session was completed in 2022. The new album, The Crosswinds of Kansas, was coproduced by Scorzari and Hubbard 2020 - 2022, Recorded and Mixed by Scorzari and Alldredge in NY and Nashville, TN in 2020 -2022, Mastered by Jim Demain at Yes Master Studio in Nashville, TN, in 2022 and will be released on August 19, 2022.
Sincere, heartfelt thanks go out to all of you who are following and supporting this journey. For the most up to date news on where it's headed next, including more info about The Crosswinds of Kansas, please continue to visit www.billscorzari.com
Bill Scorzari is available for performances, interviews, studio sessions and other media opportunities.
Brad Paul // Brad Paul Media
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