Spotlight: Bill Kirchen
Since 1971, when Bill Kirchen played the Armadillo World Headquarters with Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen, he's had an affinity for Austin. He moved here a couple of years back, though not for the music. His wife's sick father lived in Buda and passed away about a year ago.
"It's gotten so I'm gonna have to claim Southwest Airlines as a dependent on my income tax this year," says Kirchen, back home in Maryland. "We'll always have affection for Austin, but our main base of operations will be in the Northeast."
Kirchen recorded last year's Proper American debut, Hammer of the Honky-Tonk Gods, in London with some distinguished company: friend of 30 years Nick Lowe and his band.
"I'm just a fan," says Kirchen. "I've learned so much from him, I can't overstate that. I really was surprised he wanted to do it."
Hammer moves Kirchen, who folds decades of rock history into "Hot Rod Lincoln" live, away from being a trucker's delight and closer to greasy soul.
"To me it's a step forward," he claims. "It's also a step back in that I've gathered some of the people that I'm closest to, that I've known for years.
"I've tried to let go of the 'dieselbilly' thing and be a little more serious," Kirchen continues. "There's a reason you only hear about one novelty song a year on the radio: People like to hear stuff that's closer to the bone."